Australian Government response to the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee Report: Protection of Aboriginal rock art of the Burrup Peninsula

Australian Government, 2020

Download

If you have difficulty accessing these files, contact us for help.

About this response

On 30 November 2016, the Senate referred the following matter for inquiry and report:

The Commonwealth's responsibility under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to protect the globally significant and National Heritage listed Aboriginal rock art of the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia, with particular reference to:

  1. the total industrial pollution load from existing industrial activities and port zone on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia, and its existing impacts on Aboriginal rock art;
  2. the projected additional pollution load from the Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd ammonium nitrate plant, including the likely impacts on the Aboriginal rock art, human health and the environment;
  3. the accuracy and adequacy of reports used by the Western Australian and Commonwealth governments when setting the relevant technical, environmental and cultural conditions regulating the construction and operation of the Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd ammonium nitrate plant in an area of highly significant Aboriginal rock art;
  4. the rigour and adequacy of the monitoring, analysis, compliance and enforcement performed by the Western Australian and Commonwealth government agencies in carrying out their legislated responsibilities in overseeing industries on the Burrup Peninsula;
  5. the projected level of fugitive gas and nitric acid leaks from the Yara Pilbara fertiliser and ammonium nitrate plants, their effects on human health, likely effects on rock art and the general environment, and the adequacy of the company responses;
  6. the failure by Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd, the Western Australian Government or the Federal Government to include risk analysis of establishing an ammonium nitrate plant in close proximity to the rock art, a gas hub and major port and in a cyclone surge zone;
  7. the adequacy of the Yara Pilbara plans to protect the communities of Dampier and Karratha and the rock art sites from the consequences of any explosion caused by 'sympathetic detonation' or other factors, including the ability to douse the nitrate stores with sufficient water to prevent a spontaneous explosion; and
  8. any related matters.

On 21 March 2018 the Committee tabled its report Protection of Aboriginal rock art of the Burrup Peninsula.

The Australian Government has considered the recommendations of the Committee's report and has provided this response.