Industry Response to Proposed Limmen Park and Marine Park

Dear Mr Grant

Re : Industry Response to Proposed Limmen Park and Marine Park

On behalf of the minerals industry in the Northern Territory I am writing in response to an opportunity to make representations under section 14(2) of the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conversation Act on the proposed Limmen Park.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry, nationally and internationally, in its contribution to sustainable development and society. MCA member companies produce more than 85 per cent of Australia’s annual mineral output.

In the Northern Territory, NT Division members represent over 100 individual mining, exploration and related industry companies operating in the jurisdiction and comprise around 20% of the Northern Territory’s gross state product employing around 4,600 people.

MCA members commit to continuous improvement in their performance, beyond regulatory requirements, as signatories to Enduring Value – The Australian Minerals Industry Framework for Sustainable Development. A key element in this Framework is the commitment to ‘contribute to conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land-use planning’.

In this submission, the MCA does not seek in any way to diminish the importance of effective protection of the environment and the establishment of appropriate areas for conservation, including the Roper region. However the establishment of new conservation reserve areas should be underpinned by sound science and include full consideration of the multiple values (environment, social and economic) within the region in determining reserve boundaries and suitable levels of protection.

It is important to ensure that the declaration of a park respects existing tenure rights and does not simply veto types of activities. Rather determinations on proposed activities, including exploration and potential mining, should be assessed on a case by case basis, using sound science and merit based.

In most cases it should be possible to protect significant environmental values, yet allow development to proceed. The Minerals Council therefore considers that regulatory arrangements should not embody the presumption of incompatibility.

The Minerals Council of Australia objects to the Limmen Park proposal in its current form on the basis of the manner in which this development has been publicly managed without consultation or detailed assessment.

The industry believes that a lack of transparency on this issue compounded by a detailed series of unanswered questions signals a clear intention by the Government to declare the proposed park irrespective of the responses received, where the “opportunity” to comment on the proposal is required under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act.

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