The Helena and Aurora Range Science Declaration
An open letter to the Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan,
The Western Australian Environment & Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson and
The Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Commerce and Industrial Relations; Electoral Affairs; Asian Engagement Minister Bill Johnston
We, the undersigned scientists, call upon the Government to protect the Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin) from mining and upgrade protection over the range to a Class “A” National Park.
We endorse that the EPA and other government bodies have recommended protection for this ancient, unique range of global heritage significance for over 50 years. The natural values found in this area have been formally recognised by scientists since the 1980’s, and since then there have been repeated calls for protection, including a 2007 EPA report on the region, the 2012-2013 EPA annual report and most recently in the EPA report on the current mining proposal (2017).
The Helena Aurora Range is a significant, intact geo-heritage feature of the Banded Ironstone Formation Ranges of the Yilgarn Region of Western Australia. These Ranges are remnants of a landscape dating back over 2.6 billion years, meaning that they are among the most ancient landforms on earth.
The Helena and Aurora Range is a refuge for both threatened flora and fauna. It boasts significant aboriginal heritage sites and is home to a unique ecological community with species found nowhere else. In summary, the biodiversity of the range that has been described to date includes:
- 2 Declared rare endemic flora species (Tetratheca aphylla subsp. aphylla and Leucopogon spectabilis) plus 3 other endemic plant species
- 1 Threatened fauna species,
- 4 Conservation significant fauna species,
- 10 BIF-dependent flora species,
- 13 Priority plant species,
- 152 Native fauna species
- 350 Native plant species
After decades of science-based recommendations for the full and secure protection of the Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin), in light of the threats facing the range and excellent opportunity for joint management with Traditional Owners, the time has come for the WA government to act responsibly and protect this exceptional feature of our environment for future generations.
With so many of WA’s other outstanding banded ironstone ranges destroyed or in the process of being destroyed, it’s time to get the balance right and protect this exceptional intact biodiversity hotspot for future generations.
The undersigned Scientists
John Bailey, Emeritus Professor, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University
Carmen Lawrence, Professor in Psychology, School of Psychological Science, University of Western Australia
Stephen Hopper, Professor of Biodiversity & Conservation Biology, CENRM & School of Biological Sciences at University of Western Australia
Fiona Stanley, Professor Child Health & Epidemiology, Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia.
Hans Lambers, Professor in Plant Biology, School of Biological Science, University of Western Australia
Dr Denis Saunders AM Retired CSIRO Chief Research Scientist, Member Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
Professor Richard J Hobbs, IAS Distinguished Fellow, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia
Peter W G Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
David M Watson, Professor in Ecology, Institute for Land Water and Society, and School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University
Katherine Anne Evans, Associate Professor in Geology, Curtin University
Bruce Armstrong, Adjunct Professor of Public Health, University of Western Australia
Dr. Barry Traill, Australian Director, Pew Charitable Trusts
Dr Christopher Dean, Research Scientist & Doctoral Candidate, University of Tasmania
Dr Eddie van Etten, Senior Lecturer, Edith Cowan University
Harry F. Recher, FRZS, AM, Senior Fellow, The Australian Museum, College St., Sydney, Adjunct Professor, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA. Professor Emeritus, School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA
Judit Szabo, PhD, Adjunct Researcher, Avian Conservation, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia
Andrea Gaynor, Associate Professor of Environmental History, The University of Western Australia
Angus Morrison-Saunders, Associate Professor in Environmental Assessment, Murdoch University
Dr Keren Raiter, School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia
Elizabeth Fox, Great Western Woodland Project Coordinator, BirdLife Australia
Megan Evans, PhD candidate, Australian National University
Dr Euan Ritchie, Senior Lecturer in Ecology, Deakin University
Associate/Professor Michael Calver, School of Veterinary and Life Science, Murdoch University
Keith Bradby, CEO of Gondwana Link Ltd, OAM
Ralph Mac Nally, Centenary Research Professor of Ecology, The University of Canberra
Adjunct Professor Mark Henryon, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia
Cristina Estima Ramalho, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ecology, University of Western Australia
Shapelle McNee, Consultant in Botany and Ornithology, Birdlife Australia
Douglas Charles Blandford, Retired Consultant; Environmental Earth Sciences
Dr Vic Semeniuk, Geology and Geoheritage Researcher, V&C Semeniul Research Group
Senior Botanist Geoff Cockerton, Western Botanical
Senior Botanist Martin Henson, Western Botanical
Senior Botanist Jonathan Warden, Western Botanical
Honorary Senior Research Fellow Douglas Hilton, School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne
Dr Kathy Meney, Director of Research & Consulting (Botany & Ecology) Syrinx Environmental
Senior Scientist Michael Brooker, CSIRO Biology (Retired)
Lesley Brooker, Historian (Exploration History) CSIRO
Allison Reid, Associate Professor, Public Health, Curtin University
Danielle Brady, Senior Lecturer of Cultural Studies/Environmental Humanities, Edith Cowan University
Hugh Finn, Lecturer in Law at Curtin University
Jenifer Jane Alford, Private Consultant in Environmental Science/Botany
Kelli McCreery, Principal Botanist at One Tree Botanical Pty Ltd
Dr Julia Mattner, Conservation biology & genetics, Consulting Botanist
Andrew McCreery, Wildlife Biologist, Ander McCreery Environmental Services
Dr Jerome Bull, Senior Botanist & Geographer.
David White, Professor of Infrastructure Geotechnics, The University of Western Australia
Mike Griffiths, Bachelor of Applied Science, Ecology & Indigeous Engagement specialist
Mark Randolph, Fugro Chair in Geotechnics, The University of Western Australia
Dr Nick Dunlop, Citizen Science Expert, The Conservation Council of WA
Dr Michalie Louise Ruoss, Senior Botanist
Dr. Elizabeth Kington, Environmental Scientist, National Malleefowl Recovery
Allan Stanley Waugh, Retired Hydrology Engineer
Stephen Wilke, Environmental Advisor, Take Care WA (Inc.)
Dr Jerome Bull, Botanist, Consultant
Dr Neville Graeme Marchant, Retired Botanist
Alex R. Chapman, Research Associate in Botany and Bioinformatics, Western Australian Herbarium
Conservationists bid to save remote ironstone mountains – The Australian, Monday 6 November 2017
Scientists and Academics add your name to the Declaration here
Australian Academy of Science (1964) National Parks and Nature Reserves in Western Australia. By the Western Australian Sub-Committee of the Australian Academy of Science Committee on National Parks. Edited by Standing Committee on Conservation of the Royal Society of Western Australia. Jointly published by Australian Academy of Science and National Parks Board of Western Australia.
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