National recovery plan

Social and economic impacts


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2.4 Social and economic impacts


The majority of recovery actions are unlikely to impact negatively on mining interests in the region. The recovery actions are unlikely to impact negatively on existing mining operations undertaken by SBSJV on Heirisson Prong. However, there is concern about the critical build up of rabbits as a result of predator management. Increases in rabbit numbers may affect the efficacy of mine site rehabilitation (via the destruction of vegetation and soil erosion due to warren construction) and increase nutrient input into ponds used in the salt-production process (via rabbits drowning). Rabbit control measures such as 1080 baiting, myxoma virus and the rabbit calicivirus disease may assist in reducing the impact of rabbits within the mine site.


Actions associated with the recovery of the western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and banded hare-wallaby are generally unlikely to have a negative impact on pastoral activities at Carrarang Station and Faure Island as conservation goals have typically replaced pastoralism. Faure Island is currently leased and managed by AWC for the purpose of conservation.
Broad scale fox control may offer benefits in terms of pastoral production, by reducing the loss of livestock. Carrarang, Tamala, Nanga and Coburn Pastoral Leases in the Shark Bay region have existing 1080 baiting programs to control foxes to protect livestock.


Tourism is now regarded as the major industry in Shark Bay (Reark Research et al. 1995) and is focussed strongly on the region’s unique natural environment. Recovery actions are unlikely to impact negatively on tourism. The status of existing nature reserves is unlikely to change in their level of accessibility. However, there is likely to be an increase in opportunities for ecotourism in areas such as Francois Peron National Park, Dryandra Woodland and Dirk Hartog Island National Park.

Dorre Island is currently inaccessible to tourists. Bernier Island is accessible for day visits by boating traffic in the area (usually local) but overnight camping does occur. Heirisson Prong is accessible only to local residents and their visitors. In previous years, the Useless Loop community and CSIRO hosted international Earthwatch Institute visits to Heirisson Prong; however, this program ceased in 2002. Faure Island is currently inaccessible to tourists but AWC plan to implement a managed visitor program in the future (AWC 2002).
Peron Peninsula is accessible to tourists and has seen an increase in the number of visitors since the inception of Project Eden (from 10,000 during the 1993/4 financial year to 31,034 during the 2001/2 financial year and 44,138 in 2009/10 financial year) (DEC VISTAT Database, visitor statistics, 2011). DEC has run a number of Landscope Expeditions to Peron Peninsula to assist with Project Eden, the most recent in 2006. A long-standing aim has been to increase the length of stay of tourists in the region by providing opportunities to view a variety of native wildlife, in addition to the highly-visited dolphins at Monkey Mia. In addition, an ever-expanding volunteer and school groups program provides the opportunity for the general public to participate in some of Project Eden’s fauna recovery programs.

DEC’s Barna Mia is the only facility that has had the western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and banded hare-wallaby all on display to the public. The facility has had an annual visitor growth rate of 25% with 2,500 people visiting the facility in the 2004/05 financial year and is a particularly important resource for public education.

It is likely that an increased awareness of the plight of the western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and banded hare-wallaby, combined with the opportunity to view the animals in their natural habitat, will enhance the attraction of the Shark Bay region and Dryandra woodland as tourist destinations.

Local Community

It is likely that many of the recovery actions for threatened Shark Bay marsupials will increase local community knowledge, pride and involvement in the conservation of the threatened mammals and their habitat. In particular, opportunities for employment would be well received. Recovery actions are unlikely to impact negatively on the local communities within the Shark Bay region, in particular the township of Denham, and the mining community of Useless Loop, in the Narrogin region of WA, and at Roxby Downs in SA.
The community of Useless Loop has restrictions on the presence of unsterilised domestic cats. Denham residents are offered a subsidy to provide sterilisation of their cats. Both communities are engaged and know about the presence and use of 1080 poison in the region. The Useless Loop community has also maintained a policy that no new domestic cats are to be brought to the community. It is important to maintain community engagement for new residents, and any changes to current practice would require investment in community consultation, to prevent tension often associated with domestic cat control policies and the distribution of 1080 poison. The use of 1080 has resulted in the death of domestic dogs at Useless Loop and Denham, and reduces the accessibility of locations within pastoral leases for recreational pursuits with pets.

2.5 International obligations

The western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and banded hare-wallaby are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I (2010), as species threatened with extinction for which international trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

The taxa all occur within the Shark Bay World Heritage property, inscribed in 1991 and maintained under the World Heritage Convention, and are an important component of one of the four natural criteria for which the area is listed.
Under the EPBC Act any person proposing to undertake actions which may have a significant impact on the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property should refer the action to the Federal Minister for Environment. The Minister will determine whether the action requires EPBC Act assessment and approval. The world heritage values of a property are "the natural heritage and cultural heritage contained in the property". The lead agency for managing the Shark Bay World Heritage property is DEC.
The primary management objectives for World Heritage properties, which are part of Australia's general obligations under the World Heritage Convention, are to:

  1. protect and conserve the World Heritage values of the property;

  2. integrate the protection of the area into a comprehensive planning program;

  3. give the property a function in the life of the Australian community;

  4. strengthen appreciation and respect of the property's values through education; and

  5. take appropriate scientific, technical, legal, administrative and financial measures necessary for achieving these objectives.

This recovery plan is consistent with the obligations under these international agreements, and will help Australia meet these obligations.

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