Today at One Arm Point at the top of the Dampier peninsula in the Kimberley West Australia Tony Burke announced national heritage listing for parts of the West Kimberley. This announcement has been welcomed by most as long overdue recognition of the outstanding and world class natural and cultural values of the Kimberley, including the fossilized dinosaur footprints of the Dampier peninsula. Minister Burke is to be congratulated on continuing the heritage listing process begun under a former Minister and for recognising the cultural and geological values of the region. The Kimberley is a source of national pride and an internationally significant last wilderness, and environmentally and culturally significant area.
Now is the time for a proud Australian public to get behind protection for our national icon the Kimberley. We need to make sure that this announcement really means something. Save The Kimberley supports protection for the Kimberley, protection that provides for environmentally and culturally appropriate development and prevents the short term industrialization of the Kimberley. The Kimberley is too special to be sold out to multinational oil, gas and mining companies, in the long term the Kimberley will be more valuable to Australia and the world protected. The late Malcolm Douglas (Save The Kimberley Director) shared our vision of a Kimberley world heritage listed and protected for future generations. Malcolm’s wife Valerie spoke passionately today in support of this step in the right direction. Save The Kimberley Co-chair Peter Tucker spoke enthusiastically about the Kimberley’s environment and welcomed the heritage listing, but with a real sense of the need to now ensure that this announcement leads to real protection and not empty rhetoric and rampant industrialisation. We acknowledge this important step in acknowledging the natural and cultural values but are very concerned at the surprising omissions from the listing of a broad range of ecologically significant communities including the whale migration routes, seagrass and mangrove forests and coral communities including Montgomery reef.
Of particular concern to Save the Kimberley is the omission of non-intertidal parts of the James Price Point area from the listing. This area is home to threatened species such as Bilbies, threatened plant communities like monsoonal vine thicket (rain forest) and is an integral part of the cultural songline running through this country. The dinosaur footprintsthat run the length of this coast mirroring and forming part of the song cycle and dreaming stories have been acknowledged in the heritage listing. This aspect of the listing may be important to the ongoing battle to stop a gung-ho Woodside and State Government push to industrialise the Kimberley via a ‘thin edge of the wedge’ massive LNG processing plant proposed for James Price Point north of Broome. Save The Kimberley will never give up in our work to raise awareness of the issues and protect the Kimberley. We will continue our work to ‘keep the bastards honest’ and save our Kimberley for all of us on the planet. Please read more about The Dinosaur Track way on the Dampier Peninsula, James Price Point and the proposed gas plant including media, videos, audio and images.