Shadow Ports Minister Colin de Grussa is demanding the Cook Labor Government explain the glaring disparity in environmental licence conditions applicable to the export of iron ore between the Port of Geraldton and the Port of Esperance.
When questioned in Parliament over the issue, Ports Minister David Michael reached into the Labor grab bag for the usual evasive response and refused to even address the issue.
“The Minister’s tactics are a clear indication of his contempt for those families and businesses impacted by fugitive iron ore dust emissions from the Port of Geraldton” Mr de Grussa said.
“One only has to drive through the areas adjacent to both the Port of Esperance and Geraldton and their transport corridors to see that there is a stark difference between the two.”
When the export of iron ore through the Port of Esperance was first floated in the 1990s, the community was adamant that they did not want the town to be ‘painted red’ with iron ore dust.
To the great credit of the Esperance Port Authority, Portman Iron Ore Ltd and the State Government of the time, the community’s concerns were respected, and state of the art infrastructure and rigorous environmental licence conditions were put in place.
Mr de Grussa highlighted the world renowned pristine white beaches of Esperance as a shining example of the mining industry, the port and government working together with the community to achieve the best outcomes.
“With the circumstances of the Geraldton and Esperance ports being strikingly similar in terms of their very close proximity to their respective communities and exposure to strong winds, I find it incredible that the same set of environmental licence conditions do not apply to both.
“Instead of the usual dismissive approach to genuine questions, the Minister might well ask the hard questions of his agency and seek to address the issue” Mr de Grussa said.