Gas fracking company Buru Energy is this week bulldozing 660 hectares of globally significant wetlands on Roebuck Plains – a known Bilby hotspot – as the company prepares to conduct seismic testing as part of its search for oil and gas.
The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, to intervene to stop the destruction of bilby habitat.
The Greater Bilby is one of the 20 species identified in the Federal Government’s recently released Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2015-16.
The Bilby is protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
“This is an urgent situation – land is being cleared where Bilby populations are known to live,” said ACF’s Kimberley Project Officer Wade Freeman.
“From the air we saw three bulldozers clearing vegetation as fast as they could on Roebuck Plains.
“We are calling on Environment Minister Greg Hunt to issue a stop work notice so the area yet to be bulldozed can be properly surveyed.
“Unfortunately, Buru Energy is exempt from obtaining a clearing permit from the WA Department of Environment and Regulation because the Petroleum Act takes precedence over native vegetation clearing laws.
“The Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, needs to step in immediately to make sure bilbies are not being bulldozed.
We also ask the Threatened Species Commissioner, Mr Gregory Andrews, to come to the Kimberley to examine the situation first-hand, because all the efforts of the Threatened Species Action Plan will be for nought if this kind of destruction continues,” said Freeman.