The Federal Court ruling delivered today in the Save Beeliar Wetlands case fails to protect the precious Beeliar Wetlands and highlights the inadequacy of the offsets system, South Metropolitan Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has said.
Ms MacLaren said Main Roads’ offset plan for compensating loss of wetlands and bushland in the Beeliar Wetlands caused by building Roe 8 is fundamentally flawed, not least because an active petroleum permit exists over the entire offset area.
“The concept of offsets whereby the Government supposedly justifies destroying one area of high value wetlands or bushland by purchasing another natural area somewhere else is dubious in itself and in practice is even worse.
“In the case of Roe 8, two areas of land near Lake Clifton, south of Mandurah, have been purchased – in both cases neither area was surveyed by Main Roads for their environmental values until a year after the State and Federal Government’s gave environmental approval for Roe 8, which gives you an idea of how lacking in rigour the system is.
“While the areas purchased appear to have some environmental values, they are a long way from the city which is a factor from the point of view of both the humans and the wildlife that currently benefit from using the Beeliar Wetlands.
“It is precisely in our cities that we should be protecting rare areas of thriving bushland and wetlands.
“I am also extremely concerned to see that both of the offset areas are covered by a petroleum exploration lease (EP480) which Empire Oil & Gas and Pilot Energy say they plan to drill in within the next two years.
“Today’s court case has exposed just how pathetic the offsets system is.
“No one has been fooled that the offsets system is preserving our environment: it’s just a back-door to allow the Government to destroy bushland and wetlands that they know full well they should not.
“This is not the end of the legal battle and it is just the beginning of the community’s battle and we are ready for it.”
Ms MacLaren has vowed to take up the challenge in the next term of Government to further improve environmental protection laws.