CCA has prepared a full-scale submission regarding the addition of this area to Western Australia’s conservation estate. This 56-page document utilises much of the material on the website, and is augmented by a detailed review of all the past reports that have recommended the area be Nature Reserve (or similar). Copies have been lodged with the Minister for the Environment, Hon Stephen Dawson, MLC, DBCA head office and Plan for Our Parks team, DBCA regional office in Albany, and Dept of Mines, Industrial Relations & Safety (DMIRS), Environmental Compliance Branch.
In the spirit of open communication, copies have also been provided to the three mining companies with the major exploration tenements in the area, Galaxy Resources, Lithium Australia and ACH Minerals.
Our proposal has now found its way into the Government’s “Plan for Our Parks” program, which is being driven by DBCA. This will be a highly competitive process, as already DBCA has well more than the target of 5 million hectares of land on its list of possibilities. As the process of prioritisation will be undertaken by DBCA, working with a high-level inter-agency panel, we now need to make sure they know of the intense community support for this area.
Plan for Our Parks (PfOP) will also take some years to be finalised – and this too, raises concerns as the potential for negative impacts from ongoing exploration is extremely high.
We need to bring to impress upon DBCA and the Minister’s Office:
- The extraordinary combination of conservation values and intactness of the Cocanarup – Kundip area;
- The urgency of the situation, and the scale and nature of the imminent threats, and
- The risk that the very values we seek to conserve may be degraded in the time taken to complete the PfOP evaluation process.
The Cocanarup – Kundip bushland is currently largely intact, with very few access tracks, and therefore still supports a diverse range of naturally functioning and (currently) resilient ecosystems which are not yet represented in the conservation estate. Further, the area is currently almost completely dieback free, with only one known small infestation in its 65,000 hectares. Retaining this status is crucial to its long-term conservation value.
But the threats are real, and potentially both significant and imminent:
- We have spoken to the three mining company’s whose exploration tenements cover the great majority of the area, and they have pointed out that tenement conditions require them to undertake exploration activity annually.
- Exploration can pose a greater threat to conservation values than does mining itself, as it often involves new access tracks (and vehicular transit along them). These create corridors for the incursion of:
- Dieback – spread by vehicles using the previously non-existent access routes;
- Feral predators, such as foxes and cats (known to favour vehicle tracks for ease of movement);
- Weed species, either via vehicles or animals (in droppings or trapped in fur);
- Wildfire, via human access along previously non-existent tracks;
- Erosion, as is already evident on access tracks created for earlier exploration.
While we appreciate that our submission will be considered through the Plan for Our Parks process, we are concerned that the time this may take could put at risk one of the greatest attributes of this landscape: its unusual and crucial intactness. Given this, we need to ask DBCA to:
- Progress consideration of the reservation of this area directly through the internal DBCA “Reserve Proposal” mechanism, and (in case this is not done)
- Ensure that the Cocanarup – Kundip area is placed on the list of priorities in the Plan for Our Parks process.
We need DBCA and the Government to understand that the area is too precious and too intact to allow further exploration, and must be prioritised in both internal and PfOP processes. This is where you come in…
To add your voice to these requests please download, complete, sign and send the letter linked below, to the CEO of DBCA, Mr Mark Webb. It does not matter whether you’ve previously emailed the Minister on our behalf – DBCA needs to hear from you direct.
This is a Microsoft Word / editable document that you can modify to reflect your own special interests and values. If you’d like to further augment the suggested words, please refer to our Summary of Values to be found here.
Once complete, please convert to a PDF and email it to:
It would also be very useful if you could send a copy of your letter to the Minister’s office as follows:
You can also send a copy to your local member:
Your action in supporting our goals will be crucial - your voice will make a difference. We know that already Cocanarup is being mentioned as an example of an area with strong and active community support. Let’s show them that we’ve only just started! Please share these links with anyone you feel may be interested.