Arkaroola photos courtesy of Bill Doyle
Arkaroola is permanently protected - we've won!!
After a long campaign working closely with the Sprigg Family, environmental activists, scientists, Adnyamathanha Elders and the Wilderness Society, we are delighted to announce that the majestic and wonderful Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is now protected - forever.
No more will mining threaten this extraordinary part of South Australia.
We thank each and every one of you who have contributed to this campaign. It was a mighty effort!
Below is a description of how Arkaroola was saved.
The Campaign to save Arkaroola
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is a private sanctuary located in the northern Flinders Ranges, adjacent to the Gammon Ranges National Park. It is 610sq km in size and is of high conservation and heritage value. Arkaroola was declared a sanctuary under the National Parks and Wildlife Act by the State Government in 1996.
Despite it's iconic status, this world-renowned eco-tourism destination and important region for the Adnyamathanha people has been threatened by mining interests. Over 5 years ago mining company Marathon Resources commenced mining exploration at a number of sites near Mt Gee in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.
Arkaroola is too precious to mine!
February 28 2012 - Greens amendments to Arkaroola Protection Bill carried in the Upper House
On the 28th of February the Greens successfully moved two amendments to ensure appropriate consultation with the traditional owners from the Adnyamathanha people over the management of the land.
To find out more, click here.
February 2012 - Greens move amendments to Arkaroola Protection Bill
After consultation with Adnyamathanha Elders, the Greens will move 2 amendments to the Arkaroola Protection Bill to ensure greater consultation with the traditional owners of the area.
To find out more, click here
Arkaroola Protection Bill
A bill to permanently protect the mountains of Arkaroola has been introduced into State Parliament. Hopefully, the Bill will pass into law in early 2012.
To read a copy of the Bill, click here.
Premier Rann has announced that the Government will protect the region by proclamation and follow up it with legislative protection.
The Greens are delighted that the Rann Government is finally moving to permanently protect the majestic and iconic mountains of Arkaroola.
“This is a great day for South Australia,” said Greens Parliamentary leader Mark Parnell. “I congratulate the Premier on this important announcement. Arkaroola is an internationally-significant Wilderness Sanctuary that deserves the highest level of protection.
“The Greens have been fighting for years to see Arkaroola protected and today we are delighted that the Government has announced special legislation to achieve this.
“The icing on the cake will be National and World Heritage listing in the future. That will give Arkaroola the recognition it deserves.
“Arkaroola is beyond politics. The campaign to protect this iconic area has been supported by a wide range of people from across the political landscape as well as prominent academics, industry, international visitors and the general community.
“We are delighted that the Government has now agreed that Arkaroola is too precious to mine,” he said.
SA Upper House passes Greens Motion to protect Arkaroola
In an historic first, the Upper House of the South Australian Parliament has passed a Greens motion calling on the SA Government to permanently protect the mountains of Arkaroola.
Click here and here to find out more.
It's now well and truly time the Government acted!
Government changes tack as community gets behind Arkaroola (28/2/11)
Hot on the heels of the government decision to allow Marathon Resources back in to Arkaroola with its drilling equipment, the Government is now talking about long term measures to protect Arkaroola from mining. Clearly the government is hurting in the opinion polls over this issue and so the Premier reminded Parliament on 22nd February 2011 that “The conditional one year exploration licence for Marathon Resources ... in no way confers a right to mine.”
Mike Rann also said: “I certainly recognise the unique and sensitive environmental, cultural and heritage values of this site, which I visited last year. It is a stunning landscape, rich in flora and fauna, and I found its beauty to be compelling.”
So, does this mean that Arkaroola will be protected? Not at all. There is still a conga-line of Labor mates lobbying for mining and Marathon resources will no doubt be talking up the mythical mountain of money that can be made if only we allow them to dig it up.
You can download a copy of the Premier's speech and the reaction from the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary operators here.
Outrage as new licence granted (20/12/10)
Just days before Christmas, and while regular Mining Minister is away, the Rann Government has announced they will offer another 12 month exploration licence to Marathon Resources.
Click here to read Mark's reaction.
No more excuses for Government's delay in making a decision
With the expiry of Marathon's exploration licence and the passing of changes to the Mining Act, the Greens have put pressure on the Government inside and outside Parliament to finally make a decision on Arkaroola's future. Click here, here and here to find out more.
Greens try and ban mining through changes to the Mining Act
The Greens tried unsuccessfully to pass amendments in the Mining Act to permanently protect Arkaroola from mining. Click here to find out more.
Unfortunately Labor and Liberal combined to defeat the Greens amendments.
The Liberals have proposed a weaker alternative (inclusion of Class A Zone provisions in the Development Act), but this will not guarantee protection.
The Liberals should back their words with action.
'Seeking a Balance' submissions to be published
After pressure from the Greens, the Government will publish online the public submissons on the 'Seeking a Balance document.
There was an overwhelming response in favour of protecting Arkaroola. Click here and here to find out more.
To read the submissions, click here.
'Cowboy' Protest at the 2009 Marathon Resources AGM
At the November 19 2009 Marathon AGM a posse of Wilderness Society 'cowboys' let Marathon Resources shareholders know that their company is not welcome in Arkaroola.
Government releases draft Management plan for Arkaroola region
On the 27th of October 2009, the Rann Government released a draft management Plan for the Northern Flinders Ranges, called 'Seeking in Balance'.
Far from being balanced, this Plan allows for mining activity right in the heart of the Arkaroola Sanctuary.
Click here to read Mark's submission on the 'Seeking a Balance' draft.
Exploration licence Re-issued to Marathon (October 2009)
In devastating news, the Government has granted a brand new 12 month exploration licence to Marathon Resources.
Click here,here and here to find out more.
Arkaroola Sanctuary Forum in Parliament House
On the 2nd of September 2009, Mark Parnell and the Hon. Iain Evans MP hosted a forum in Parliament House to call for permanent protection for the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.
Apart from Mark and Iain, speakers included Senator Nick Minchin, Sanctuary owner Marg Sprigg and Peter Owen from the Wilderness Society.
Click here find out what Mark said.
Clean up complete - what next?
In February, when Parliament resumed for 2009, and after Marathon Resources Mark Parnell asked Minister Holloway when he would kick the company out once and for good.
Here is the question and Holloway's response, and the media that followed.
Marathon AGM Protest
On the 28th of November, the Greens, The Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth held a demonstration outside Marathon's Annual General Meeting to remind shareholders and Government alike that the community does not support mining in Arkaroola.
Click here to watch a clip of the rally.
New Bill to ban mining in the Arkaroola Sanctuary
On the 24th of September 2008, Mark Parnell made another attempt to ban, once and for all, all mining activity from the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. He introduced a new Greens Private Members Bill - the National Parks and Wildlife (Arkaroola-Mt Painter Sanctuary Mining Prohibition) Amendment Bill.
Click here to find a copy of the Bill and to read Mark's introductory speech.
Mark Parnell visits the Arkaroola Sancturary
In September 2008 Mark Parnell went to see for himself the damage caused by Marathon Resources.
On his return, he again raised the issue in Parliament.
Government allows clean up to begin
Marathon has received approval, after a number of knockbacks, for its Rectification Plan to clean up its environmental vandalism.
Read the Rectification Plan here.
Marathon have also started a PR blitz to clean up their reputation.....but we've heard it all before. Here is what Marathon Chairman Peter Williams said at the last company AGM in November 2007:
"Building a world-class project with world-class environmental and safety standards is a challenging task, but we believe we have the right systems in place to achieve our goals"
Here is what he is saying now in a letter to shareholders:
"The attention of the Board of Marathon Resources has been drawn to a significant issue for the Company as a result of the unauthorised burial of drill samples at Mt Gee, South Australia.
Our Mt Gee drilling program was subsequently suspended on 24 January 2008 by the Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA] and an investigation conducted by PIRSA and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was highly critical of the company and required us to develop a Rectification Plan.
As Chairman, I have led Marathon's review process to understand how this Mt Gee incident occurred and what we needed to learn. The results of this review, "Marathon Resources: Learning from Waste in the Wilderness", is being made public so that our key stakeholders can hear from us about our understanding of what happened and what we plan to do to ensure that these types of incidents do not recur.
Throughout the review process, I came to the difficult realisation that this incident may in fact have been symptomatic of our culture and Marathon's overall approach. As with many other mining companies, we have had instances in the past where our exploration activities have caused sometimes very vocal local opposition. For Marathon, at Myponga our exploration program met with a powerful community campaign that led to uranium exploration being ruled out in that location by the South Australian Government.
At Mt Gee, which sits within the award-winning eco-tourist Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, we had a number of incidents that were unacceptable such as an employee damaging a geologically significant fluorite vein that university students would often visit and another of our employees upsetting tourists after an injured euro was killed".
Report into MarathonResources now complete
The PIRSA investigation into Marathon's activities is now complete, and was released on the 8th May 2008. Read the Report and Minister's Holloway's Response.
Despite being found guilty of 21 separate offences, and confirmation they used unauthorised machinery to damage the unique Mt Gee geological monument itself, all PIRSA are asking Marathon to do is clean up the mess they created in the first place.
That's just not good enough.
In light of this damming report the Government has no choice but to rule out, once and for all, the return of Marathon to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.
Anything less will send a crystal clear message to other mining companies that the worst a 'cowboy' company will receive in South Australia for a gross breach of their licence conditions, is a rap on the knuckles.
Greens Bill Defeated
On the 5th of March 2008, the Greens Private Members Bill to protect South Australian sanctuaries from mining and mining exploration was sadly defeated in the Legislative Council through the combined forces of the Rann Labor Goverment, the Liberal Opposition, and No Pokies Independents Ann Bressington and John Darley.
The Greens are now planning to introduce another Bill designed to specifically protect the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary from mining and mining exploration.
Read Mark's media release for more information.
Marathon Resources Caught Breaching their Licence Conditions
In early February 2008, Marathon Resources was caught breaching its licence conditions. The licence breach wasn't just a minor discovery of poor rubbish disposal, but a systematic and sustained disregard by Marathon of their surroundings.
According to the initial PIRSA investigation, 22 800 bags, some containing radioactive drill cores, have been disposed of in 2 pits 35 metres long and 2.7m deep in the middle of the wilderness sanctuary, and mechanical equipment has been used to damage the Mount Gee geological monument itself. Also, there are reports of a second rubbish dump in the Sanctuary.
The Government responded by suspending indefinitely Marathon's exploration licence. However, Marathon claims that the suspension is only a temporary set-back, and fully expects to be allowed to recommence their activities in Arkaroola by the end of the year. This latest incident is just one more reason to permanently ban all mining activity in Arkaroola.
Read PIRSA's Initial Investigation Report
Read Minister Holloway's Ministerial Statement
Read Mark's media release for more information.
Read Mark's Question to Minister Holloway in Parliament (and his reply).
On the 26th of February Mark asked the Minister to confirm once and for all, that when the clean-up by Marathon Resources is complete, its exploration licence would be cancelled. Read Mark's Question and the Minister's reply.
Greens Bill to Ban Mining in Sanctuaries
On the 17th of October 2007 Mark introduced a Private Members Bill into the Legislative Council to prevent exploration and mining in all sanctuaries, including Arkaroola. Click here to read a copy of Mark's speech in Parliament.
To find out more....
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