The Kimberley - Too Precious To Lose
The Greens understand that the Kimberley's natural environment is the source of its people's well-being and wealth, both economic and spiritual.
In a planet under stress, the Kimberley is unique as a place still largely unspoilt by heavy industry.
However, the region also faces a number of serious, cumulative pressures, including climate change, large wild fires, feral animals and weeds, overgrazing as well as ad hoc and incompatible development.
The Kimberley faces another threat - from policy makers who see it as a new frontier to be exploited with large scale agricultural and industrial projects that will irreversibly alter the landscape and the communities that are sustained by it.
These proposals by other parties treat the Kimberley, and in fact all of Northern Australia as a source of new economic resources to sustain the rest of the nation, without regard for the aspirations of many of the people who are living there right now.
The Greens recognise that the people sharing this astonishing land and seascape are already working for a better future.
Growing industries include aquaculture and horticulture, agriculture, Aboriginal environmental management and the beginnings of the carbon economy, as well as a rich and diverse performance and visual arts community. Over the last two decades there has been an extraordinary growth in tourism and its spinoffs for local businesses. The value of tourism to the region in 2009 was $276M. Compared to other industries (aquaculture $67M, Fishing $9.8M, Pearling $64M), it is a major economic driver that should be further developed through investment, not overwhelmed by industrialization. Innovative agriculture is making the most of the current resources without disrupting existing waterways. Meanwhile, health and social services remain one of the largest employers overall.
There is also unlimited potential in the new and emerging industries such as renewable energy. The national broadband network provides new opportunities in information technology and education. There is also great scope for basing more scientific research centres in the region.
This is where the future of the Kimberley lies and this is why the Greens support and encourage investment in tomorrow's, not yesterday's industries.