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Understorey: Yeelirrie and the Supreme Court Challenge

Wednesday 27th February / presented by Elizabeth PO’ Adrian Glamorgan

Next Tuesday the Supreme Court of Western Australia (March 5) hears a crucial issue concerning the right of an Environment Minister to sanction the extinction of a species.  It's a complex legal issue, though, not argued on the intrinsic value of the species, or matters of biodiversity, but a legal  technicality.  That's the way all legal appeals funded by the community on environmental issues must work, until our state Labor government introduces an evidenced-based environment court.

At a recent public forum, speakers from the Conservation Council of WA, the Environmental Defenders' Office, and the Australian Conservation Foundation wrestled with Yeelirrie's legal concerns, finding at least three issues:  the limitations of the existing environmental protection laws; the issues of extinction they raise; and the role of the minister’s personal discretion in the environmental law process.  At stake is the fate of stygofauna near a proposed uranium mine; the role of science in decisions affecting the environment, and the workings of our own democracy.

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