Western Australian Auditor General Colin Murphy says he has concerns that mining companies may be getting away with breaching environmental and heritage conditions.
In a report tabled in WA parliament yesterday Murphy said the Department of Indigenous Affairs’ monitoring and enforcement of heritage had been lax.
He said companies were not being properly monitored and could be damaging or destroying important sites without the state’s knowledge.
He said the Department of Indigenous Affairs only undertook inspections of heritage sites when responding to complaints and when it did find non-compliance it failed to act.
He also raised concerns about companies offering to offset the environmental impacts of their projects, which he said could amount to “buying” approval.
“[There’s] a risk that offsets are seen as a means to buy project approval or extract money from proponents,” he said.
Murphy said the Department of Mines and Petroleum was also failing to enforce and scrutinise the environmental reports of companies.
“When it comes to receiving reports we found about half weren’t even being submitted, and when they were submitted, there wasn’t a lot of review to those,” he said.
He said both Government agencies needed to improve their monitoring processes.