Burke’s decision to dump conditional approval of the Embley Bauxite project on Cape York on the back of a one page, flimsy, and inaccurate formal complaint by the Wilderness Society sets a dangerous precedent for future resource projects in Australia, Senator Boswell said.
This multi-billion dollar job creating project has now been delayed as a result of the Wilderness Society’s relentless pressure to stop this and other Mining projects from proceeding on Cape York.
The Wilderness Society initially raised grave concerns for the local bare-rumped Sheathtail bat, they then moved on to the new species of freshwater crab and shrimp that was at risk, and then finally they were able to persuade Tony Burke to delay this $4 billion project on the back of incorrect claims of increased shipping in the Great Barrier Reef.
The Minister took this cause of action even when faced with the facts from Rio Tinto that shipping movements to the Great Barrier Reef would not increase and increased shipping would go north to China.
This is no way to run a country. Companies would not invest confederate money in Australia. Why would they if a multi-billion dollar project can be delayed by a one page complaint from the Wilderness Society?
The Gillard Government cannot continue to surrender to the Wilderness Society’s vexatious complaints and jeopardize economic investment and Aboriginal jobs on Cape York and good paying jobs in Gladstone.
The fact that Burke’s decision was announced on the same day that the Greens announced that they would preference Queensland Labor in the crucial seat of Ashgrove should set alarm bells ringing. Tony Burke was prepared to put Queensland workers and their livelihoods at risk to appease the Wilderness Society and help out his desperate Queensland Labor colleagues.
Today I asked Senator Conroy representing Tony Burke in the Senate:
"Has the Government in its capitulation to the Wilderness Society assessed the economic impact of this decision on indigenous Queenslanders employed in Rio Tinto’s Weipa operations and the flow on impact to the two Gladstone refineries that depend on Weipa?"
He failed to answer the question.
The Gillard Government and the Wilderness Society have little regard for the local indigenous people who rely on Rio Tinto to provide for their families and the hundreds of workers who are employed in the refineries in Gladstone whose jobs depend on Bauxite.
The Wilderness Society from their Brisbane based office continue to agitate for Emergency National Heritage Listing and use their mouthpiece in the Australian Parliament, the Greens, to pressure the Minister.
What part of No do they not understand?
Tony Burke again confirmed on March 16 that he will not go down the path of a National Heritage Listing or a World Heritage Listing without the consent of traditional owners, and that the Government did not have the consent of the traditional owners on the Cape, and that he will not be doing an emergency heritage listing.
The Minister must stand firm with manufacturing in decline in Australia, Cape York indigenous workers are fighting for their economic survival and the right to determine their own future.