The Western Australian government is looking at ways of protecting the Margaret River from future mining applications.
Last month the region’s Environmental Protection Agency threw out LD Operations’ Vasse Coal project to mine 15km from the renowned wine region.
In the wake of that success, WA premier Colin Barnett said his government is considering proposals for legislation that would permanently protect the region from mining.
This would be legislation similar to the Swan Valley Act which protects the ‘heritage grape area’ northeast of Perth from future mining operations.
While he agreed they could not rule out coal mining and gas exploration in the area, he said he thought the wine areas should be exempted.
‘In the prime Margaret River areas, it’s the view of the government it should be preserved for the wine production and tourism value of that area.’
He stressed they were not legislating to stop the mining industry, but ‘to protect the unique, tourist and agricultural characteristics of Margaret River’.
LD Operations may appeal the EPA’s decision. ‘In LD Operations’ view, the assessment of the project to date has been deficient and should be revisited,’ the company said.
Written by Adam Lechmere