The Gallop Government: Environmental Issues : Carnarvon-Ningaloo Coast

by Prof David Black

Environmental Issues: Carnarvon-Ningaloo Coast

The Gallop Government considered that its commitment to caring for the State's environment, as part of broad range of objectives coming under the heading of 'sustainability' was one of its especially significant areas of achievement. In this regard the documents issued, including ministerial statements and other papers relating to the future of the Carnarvon-Ningaloo Coast provide an excellent case study.

The papers issued included

  • Media Statement by the Premier, 'State government rejects Ningaloo reef marina project' - 4 July 2003
  • Ministerial statement by the Premier concerning the community response on the future of the Carnarvon-Ningaloo Coast - 18 September 2003
  • Media Statement by Premier and Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, 'Draft strategy a blueprint to protect Ningaloo coast' - 3 May 2004
  • Media Statement, 'Premier seeks further protection for whale sharks' - 20 May 2004
  • Media Statement by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, 'Inaugural director appointed to Ningaloo Sustainable Development Office - 28 June 2004
  • Media Statement by the Minister for the Environment, 'Committee to promote World Heritage listing for Ningaloo' - 9 July 2004
  • Media Statement by Premier. '$5 million quest to learn more about Ningaloo and save the Whale Shark' - 26 July 2004
  • Media Statement by Premier and other ministers, 'Government to extend Ningaloo Marine Park' - 26 July 2004
  • Premier's E-Newsletter 30 July 2004 including section on 'Protecting Ningaloo' and visit to Carnarvon
  • Media Statement by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, 'Ningaloo Coast will have strongest environmental planning controls in nation' - 19 August 2004
  • Media Statement by the Premier and Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, 'Strong local representation on Ningaloo decision-making body' - 9 September 2004
  • Media Statement by Premier and other ministers, 'State government reveals world-class park for Ningaloo' - 27 November 2004

In addition, in an undated document headed 'Building a better future for North West Coastal', Gallop as Premier and Fred Riebeling MLA as Speaker (and member for the relevant area) outlined the government's plans for the future of the region covering both 'What we have done' and 'What we will do'.

On a broader front in July 2001, early in the life of the Gallop Government a Sustainability Policy Unit was established in the department of Premier and cabinet and in September 2003 it produced 'Hope for the Future. The Western Australian State Sustainability Strategy'. In Gallop's own words it was designed to present sustainability as an integrated whole of government approach to many deep-seated issue centred on 'meeting the needs of current and future generations through an 'integration of environmental protection, social advancement and economic prosperity'. Among issues central to the Strategy Unit were environmental protection for the Ningaloo Coast, strengthening the legislation prohibiting the transportation or storage of nuclear waste in Western Australia, implementing State Water Strategy, emphasising the revitalisation of suburbs, developing a strategic framework for waste management and developing industry partnerships.

In another undated document (presumably produced as part of the run up to the 2005 election), the government outlined 'Labor's Plan for our Environment' focussing on its four year commitment under the headings:

  • A commitment to sustainability
  • Forest conservation
  • Keeping Western Australia nuclear free
  • Marine conservation
  • Securing our water future
  • Reversing salinity and protecting rivers, river catchments and wetlands
  • Clean air
  • Waste management
  • Contaminated sties
  • Reducing greenhouse gas
  • Protecting biological diversity
  • Environmental protection
  • Genetically modified crops ('the government will maintain this ban, and will not issue any exemptions to allow commercial cultivation of genetically engineered crops)