Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Labor News

Labor plans to protect Kimberley wilderness

Labor Statement February 22

A McGowan Labor Government will protect the pristine, unique environment of the Kimberley by creating two new parks, and move to protect the natural environment of the Mitchell Plateau, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said today.

Mr McGowan said WA Labor would create the Great North Kimberley Marine Park and the Fitzroy River National Park as part of its commitment to preserving the Kimberley region's important marine and terrestrial environments.

"WA Labor will create the Great North Kimberley Marine Park, extending from King Sound in the west to Cambridge Gulf in the east," Mr McGowan said.

"It will protect an estimated 9000 kilometres of coastline, with some sanctuary zones to provide special protection to marine life.

"It will be jointly managed by the traditional owners, the Mayala, Dambimangari, Uunguu and Balanggara people, and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

"The marine park will allow existing mining and exploration activities to continue along with tourism and recreational fishing activities.

"There will however be some sanctuary zones established in consultation with the local community and Indigenous groups.

"We will also establish a 160 square kilometre national park to protect the famous Horizontal Falls.

"The Fitzroy River National Park will extend from the Geikie Gorge National Park along the Fitzroy River to the north and along the Margaret River to the east.

"The national park will be jointly managed by the traditional owners and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

"Under the joint management agreement, traditional owners will be able to exercise significant control over their traditional lands, create sustainable economic enterprises in their own right and in partnership with private and Government entities.

"This move will provide protection for this precious and iconic heritage environment.

"WA Labor will also allocate $4million over four years to employ 10 indigenous rangers to help manage the new Fitzroy River National Park."

Mr McGowan said WA Labor recognised the wilderness values and environmental significance of the Mitchell Plateau.

"We are concerned the Mitchell Plateau has continued to be threatened by mining through the existence of a State Agreement Act," he said.

"The Mitchell Plateau is one of the only places in Australia where there are no recorded species extinctions since European settlement.

"It is a pristine environment with spectacular landscapes that vary from extensive mangrove and swamp areas to woodland and lush rainforest.

"WA Labor will commence negotiations with the Mitchell Plateau bauxite tenement holders to relinquish their interest and then legislate to ensure the Mitchell Plateau is protected from mining in perpetuity."

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