Former Environment Minister Melissa Price approved the construction in Western Australia despite being briefed on the significant threat it posed to subterranean species, recently released documents have shown.
The rationale for Minister Price’s approval of the controversial Yeelirrie uranium mine is set out in a Statement of Reasons acquired by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).
The Statement of Reasons shows her Department recommended two possible conditions for the mine and Minister Price chose conditions that do not require the proponent to ensure it will avoid the extinction of species.
“Radioactive risks and extinction last longer than any politician, so these deserve genuine assessment, not backroom fast tracking,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“Australia’s environment laws are failing, with politicians putting the interests of big companies ahead of nature, Traditional Owners and local communities.
“We need laws that protect nature and take the short-term politics out of decisions with long-term implications.”
At the time Minister Price approved the Yeelirrie mine, which is in her electorate of Durack, the project was subject to legal appeal by senior Tjiwarl native title holders and conservationists. Ms Price had previously said she would not make a decision on Yeelirrie until the Supreme Court had ruled on the challenge.