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Jobs v environment debate in WA -

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PETER CAVE: The Premier of Western Australia says the nation's largest resource project is on its
way to full environmental approval.

The $50 billion Gorgon LNG project involves the development of a gas processing plant on Barrow
Island off the coast of the Pilbara.

The State's Environment Minister has called for management plans to protect Barrow Island's
flatback turtles and coral species but environmentalists say it's the beginning of the end for an
island they've dubbed "Australia's Ark".

David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: The Gorgon joint venture is expected to produce 15 million tonnes of LNG every year
and should create 6,000 jobs.

The Premier Colin Barnett has welcomed the latest approval.

COLIN BARNETT: Look it's an important step along the way and effectively sets the scene for
environmental approval for the project.

There are some other procedural matters to happen. That is really the final stages of the process
and I take it now that the Gorgon project will receive environmental approval.

DAVID WEBER: Are they effectively rubber stamps, those procedures you're talking about?

COLIN BARNETT: Well not quite but it's a matter of making sure that every area of responsibility,
including you know land tenements on the island, my responsibility as Minister for State
Development and the Agreement Act are complied with.

But you can take it now that I would expect and everyone would expect that Gorgon will receive
environmental approval.

DAVID WEBER: The Environment Minister has said there'll need to be management of light emissions to
protect Barrow Island's flatback turtle population.

The Greens MLC Robin Chapple says he believes the Minister should have fought harder.

ROBIN CHAPPLE: Laying down in front of Cabinet and letting them walk all over I wouldn't say is
particularly strong. We know that this will be the end of Australia's Ark. I'm very unhappy with
the Minister. I think the Minister has just acquiesced to the edict of Cabinet and the edict of the
Premier.

DAVID WEBER: Robin Chapple says Barrow Island is considered the nation's "Ark" because it features
representatives of many of Australia's animal and plant species.

Mr Chapple says the island is still an A class nature reserve even though Chevron has had an oil
processing plant there for decades.

ROBIN CHAPPLE: It's interesting that the A class nature reserve status still remains and if you're
passing in a boat or anything else you're not allowed to put ashore on the island for fear of
damaging the island and yet you can move dirty great big gas plants in there with your attendant
downstream processing, accommodation for 3,000 people. The island will be decimated.

DAVID WEBER: The Gorgon joint venture is yet to make a final investment decision on the project and
it does need federal approval. But Robin Chapple expects the Commonwealth will give it the green
light.

ROBIN CHAPPLE: The feds don't do a lot in their own right. They merely get hold of all the
documentation that's been submitted to the state and given Mr Garrett's recent stands on anything
environmental, I don't think we've got any chance for him or his organisation to do anything that
would inhibit the development at all.

DAVID WEBER: Is it too late?

ROBIN CHAPPLE: I think with this Government and a minister who has no gumption, yes.

PETER CAVE: The Greens MLC Robin Chapple speaking to David Weber.