Activists in the dark on D’Entrecasteaux mining tenement listings

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Windswept and rugged Salmon Beach at D'Entrecasteaux National Park.
Camera IconWindswept and rugged Salmon Beach at D'Entrecasteaux National Park. Credit: The West Australian

An activist group which is fighting mining proposals near Denmark’s D’Entrecasteaux National Park say changes to advertising applications is hampering the ability of communities to protect themselves.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition has called on the State Government to change the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s community consultation process to make sure it is “open and transparent”.

Coalition spokesman Andy Russell said changes included no longer listing tenement applications in newspapers, which undermined the ability of grassroots groups to track proposals and developments.

“While the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition would like to see the department’s processes changed to make it encourage public participation, adopt precautionary principles to projects, and practise key sustainability principles, we are only asking the State Government to re-establish advertising of new mining leases in the local newspapers and to improve the system through compulsory notification of individual organisations with a history of interest in that particular area where a lease has been made,” he said.

He said the changes made it “not surprising” DMIRS reported no objections to a contentious mining lease within a C-class reserve next to Lake Jasper.

Public advertisements were key to last decade’s fight in Margaret River against contentious mining plans proposed for Osmington, but farmer and former No Coalition convenor Brent Watson said communities had become wiser.

“With virtually everything online these days it could be said that this is a logical evolution,” he said.

“The ‘bush telegraph’ now being at its most effective in history with the advent of social media, I think communities will catch up pretty quickly to mining news and in fact get ahead of it in no time.”

Mr Watson also said neighbours adjacent to proposed mining tenements were required by law to receive a direct copy of the application.

DMIRS resource tenure executive director Rick Rogerson said the decision to “rescind” the requirement for advertisements came from community feedback.

“Criticism was received by the then Department of Mines and Petroleum because application details were not being published on its website,” he said.

“Concern was expressed that it was unrealistic to expect community members to purchase newspapers to find public notice of tenement applications.”

DMIRS developed a real-time online notification system and advertised the changes.

“The feedback received was positive about the initiative to move to an online notification service that provided information in virtually real time,” Mr Rogerson said.

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