Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where to from here?

Woodside will decide between the Kimberley and Karratha after the 3 month negotiations in 2009 with the KLC and when research is completed into the environmental, heritage and social impacts on the Kimberley. The decision is expected in late June 2009

The two locations currently under consideration for LNG processing by Woodside are:

  • James Prices Point on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley; or
  • Woodside-operated facilities located near Karratha.

Woodside was invited by Indigenous traditional owners to recommence discussions on the possibility of developing an LNG facility in the Kimberley. Woodside are committed to negotiating with the KLC.

An LNG precinct would occupy approximately 3 km of coastline according to Woodside and this is in line with the findings of the Northern Task force.

But let's not forget that with dredging and reclamation the entire 'footprint' at Prices Point is 10 kilometres of shore line and 5 kilometres offshore with a entire footprint zone effect of 5000 hectares (land and sea) which is also included in the Northern Task Force report.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Background information to the LNG proposal

Since 2007, more than 40 possible Kimberley sites were considered and four sites, including James Price Point, were short-listed in October 2008.

“This process has a completion date of March 31, 2009, after which the State Government will begin land acquisition processes.

The Northern Development Taskforce started work on selecting a site for an LNG development in the Kimberley in June 2007. It has produced or commissioned at least 22 reports into environmental, indigenous and other issues surrounding the proposal.

There were also 243 written submissions on the site selection (shortlist) report plus 46 verbal submissions, a three day workshop in Broome in July and an Environmental Protection Authority report and other reports commissioned by the Commonwealth.

Crunch time for Prices Point

No wonder the public is often cynical about politics when we are told just before the festive season about a decision which will change our region irrevocably with a 1000 to 2000 hectare slice of Kimberley coast given over to industrial development of which a large chunk will be on the land. If Prices Point is taken by our State Government for an LNG gas factory, the 4 kilometre long dredging required, will scrape out the grave for the Broome surrounds, and the drilling and pile driving for the construction of 'a significant jetty' will pound at the very heart of our Kimberley coastline. This destruction of our pristine environment is a very heavy price to pay. What’s going to be the effect of the next 50 years of major quantities of waste water from the extraction process, atmospheric pollution and ballast from the tankers? The next three months of consultation is far too short in considering cultural, heritage, environmental and social impacts on Broome and the wider area. The threat of 'compulsory acquisition' is a poor substitute if negotiations get bogged down with traditional owners. The Conservation Council is right by drawing a line in the sand and launching an International campaign against this proposal while arguing that the Browse gas should be piped to the Pilbara instead where the infrastructure is already in place.

Brian Kane Broome.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is the Premier downsizing the chosen site?

You may like to compare the statement by the Premier today with the Northern Task Force evaluation report released in Oct 2008 :

The Premier stated that the project will ''require a few hundred metres of coastline and about 300 to 400 acres (150 hectares) on the land which would not be accessible to the public." (December 20th)

The Northern Task Force evaluation report page 16:
For the purpose of the evaluation, an area 3 kilometres long-shore and 4 kilometres offshore (1000 hectares) was considered to be the 'footprint' associated with construction. Turbidity from dredging and reclamatinon would have effects extending beyong the footprint over a notional 5000 hectare (10 kilometres long-shore and 5 kilometres offshore) zone of effect.

Which leaves us with the question - Is the Premier downsizing the effected area in his public comments?

The Premier meets opponents of the gas presinct

The Premier met with about 30 opponents of the gas presinct today on the lawn area in front of the Cable Beach Resort.
It was well covered by the media. It seems that an announcement is imminent as soon as next week as to the preferred site. The Premier stated that the project will ''require a few hundred metres of coastline and about 400 acres on the land which would not be accessible to the public." The entire area including the ocean would require 1000 hectares according to the Northern Task Force. Once the preferred site is indicated "an Environmental and Heritage assessment will be carried out and the hub will bring training, education and employment to Broome" according to the Premier.

The Premier flew up to Prices Point and North Head yesterday and walked on the beach in both places.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

EPA report

The EPA has ruled out Anjo and North Head on environmental grounds and stated that Prices Point and Gourdon Bay will have the least environmental impact, but the Premier said there are other issues to consider.

It's time to mobilise

As soon as the week before Christmas, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is likely to announce a proposed site for a major industrial development on the Kimberley coast - on land he is prepared to forcibly remove from Traditional Owners, through compulsory acquisition laws.

With no further negotiations or scientific research, a 1000ha slice of Kimberley coast will be given over to liquefied natural gas (LNG) industrial development - threatening majestic humpback whales and numerous endangered species including dugong and flatback turtles.
It is time to let Woodside Ltd - the major Australian fossil fuel company leading the charge to industrialise the Kimberley coast - know that the people of Australia do not want to see the iconic Kimberley's natural environment sacrificed to short-sighted industrial development.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broome Shire Council stands up for the environment

In one of the most important debates for the future of Broome, the Shire Council made a strong stand for the environment by passing 4 motions:
1. That turtles are given more protection against the impact of vehicles on Cable Beach. There will be a restriction on vehicles 500m north of Gantheaume Point to Coconut Wells during the key times, tides and dates which coincide with the nesting of turtles. This will not inconvenience the general public as the restrictions mostly occur at night.
2. The Council does not support the location of a gas processing hub/presinct along the coastline within the Shire of Broome. The Council calls for more direct consultation and wants to explore other development options.
3. The Council will host a forum to inform and educate people within the Shire on the direct impacts - economic, environment and social of an LNG hub/presinct.
4. The Council will express to our Sister City Taiji the community of Broome's concerns about the culling and slaughter of dophins and the apparent condoning of this practice by the Taiji City Council.

Gas protest in Broome

A vocal crowd of more than 400 concerned residents took to the streets of Broome to protest against the proposed LNG hub on the Kimberley coastline. After impassioned speeches from Neil McKenzie, Save the Kimberley's Kevin Blatchford and Beagle Bay resident Albert Wiggan a strong chant of ''gas free Kimberley, hands off country'' arose. A march down Hamersley Street with a police escort then followed ending at Male oval. (courtesty Broome Advertiser December 18th 2008)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Carol Martin MP switches her views

Kimberley MLA Carol Martin said the Chamber of Commerce was wrong to suggest the LNG hub needed to be close to Broome. She also said she now did not support any of the four sites, and was especially concerned development at North Head would impact on the lifestyle of her family.

Broome Advertiser December 11th.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Explaining environmental destruction to our grandchildren.

Colin Barnett is adamant that the LNG industrialization of the Dampier Peninsula will go ahead irrespective of any opposition. Many Kimberley people are against the destruction of our pristine coastline, but are adopting a fatalistic attitude: “It’s going to happen anyway, so get on board!” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Elsewhere in Australia, Gunn’s pulp mill in Tasmania was given the go ahead by the State Government, but is now on shaky ground mainly because it’s so unpopular with the people of the region. Foreign investors are withdrawing interest and the Federal Government is meticulously upholding environmental standards. We all remember Tasmania’s divisive dam’s issue of the 1980s which thankfully was defeated.

I am appealing to all those in opposition to the proposed social and environmental destruction of the Dampier Peninsula to maintain their optimism and trust in people power.

Let’s say Barnett gets his own way, a fast-forward picture twenty years from now will see Broome becoming an extension of the Pilbara. At least then, I can look my grandchildren in the eye and say “I was opposed to this madness!”

Damian Kelly, Broome

Saturday, November 22, 2008

MP picks Prices Point

The lead story in the Broome Advertiser Oct 23rd 2008

MLA Carol Martin nominated James Prices Point as her preferred locations for a gas processing hub.
Mrs Martin described Price's Point, a popular recreatioin spot, as ideal because ''it has all that rock it will give them a stable base to develop on,'' she said.
"There's other places people can go (for recreation) - there's thousands of kilometres of coastline."
The Northern Development Task report described Price's Point as technically viable, leaving Aboriginal lands on the north of the Peninsula free of industry, and offering the potential to share infrasure with Broome.
But it also said development would impact on sensitive marine industries, along with putting pressure on the tourism industry and the character of Broome.

Is North Head the preferred option?

  • Woodside have stated they prefer North Head for the LNG gas presinct.
  • NDT indicated that Prices Point will cost $1 Billion more than North Head.
  • Premier Colin Barnett also supports North Head.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Broome Chamber of Commerce supports Prices Point

The Broome Chamber of Commerce recently did a complete turn about on the site location.

  • In July 2008 they did not believe it should be near Broome because of potential business and social impacts.
  • In October they supported the new Premier’s position on North Head saying that it was far enough away from Broome.
  • In November, after Barnet visited Broome, the Chamber decided to support James Prices Point.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Looks like Prices Point!

The logical preferred site for an LNG gas hub in the Kimberley is Prices Point because of its proximity to Broome with its existing infrastructure. One of the key factors for the Joint Venture in their decision is the employment of an initial workforce of over 4000 which reduces to 500 in the longer term.

The Shire has rightly called for an urgent full Social Impact review to be undertaken. Will this Venture ‘break the poverty cycle’ in the Broome or will it further push the disadvantaged to the fringe because of higher prices? Won’t most of the gas industry jobs be in fact specialist positions?

Let’s not kid ourselves that the opposition of a few thousand Broome residents will stand in the way of the State and Federal Government when billions of dollars of revenue are at stake. Colin Barnett has warned that ‘he will bypass the consultation process and acquire land for the processing hub if an agreement with traditional owners can't be reached’.

If the Joint Venture aims to process gas by 2013, can’t they pipe it to the Pilbara or Darwin and leave the pristine beauty of the Kimberley in tact for Eco tourism which will generate a vast number of jobs.

Brian Kane Broome.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Prices Point is too precious

Is James Prices Point worth preserving in its natural state – after all there’s only bush, sand, pindan cliffs and rocks there? Maybe so, but anyone who has taken the time to travel the 60 kilometres from Broome on the winding track which eventually reveals the pristine beauty of this unique spot could not but be moved. Having made the trip myself on numerous occasions over the past thirty years to camp, fish and explore, it’s hard to believe that this peaceful area may soon change forever. Presently, there are no unsightly human structures of any type to be seen, no matter how far you may squint into the far horizon.

Isn’t Prices Point a very significant site for Aboriginal people who have strong connections to the Lurrujarri Trail? In a previous newspaper, the ‘Broome News’ over 20 years ago, Paddy Roe, the guardian and Law keeper stated that Price Point was a ‘non-development zone to be used as per tradition for camping, learning and recreation’.

There are limited areas within easy driving distance where ‘Broomites’ can get away and unwind, so why take away Prices Point from them? Obviously, off shore gas will bring wealth and mega development but is it worth the environmental cost?

Progress will no doubt mean a sealed road in the not to distant future where we can reach Prices Point in half the time and then won’t we be delighted to show our children the LNG gas hub?

Brian Kane

Social impact of LNG Plant at Prices Point

Don’t we appreciate so much our unspoilt beaches, our laid back outdoors lifestyle, our pearling history and our unique multicultural community here in Broome? After all, it’s the reason why we live here and it’s the magnet which draws tourists from all over the world.

Having lived in Karratha, I decided to move to Broome because I wanted to live in a town rich in social and cultural history - not a mining town! You only have to look at the impact an LNG plant has had on Karratha and on that beautiful area of the Pilbara. If this plant goes ahead at Price Point, Broome will become another Karratha where the only people who are looked after are the LNG plant workers. The rest of us will not be able to afford housing, flights, services and goods.

As well as a large number of environmental considerations, there are also the social and cultural costs of destroying our unique town. Locating an LNG plant at Prices Point will hugely upset the cultural and social fabric of this special town!

Gemma Laidlaw Broome

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prices Point Public Submission absurd timeline

28 days was an absurdly short time frame for the public to lodge their objections to the Northern Task force concerning the proposal to locate an LNG gas hub along the Kimberley coast. The site evaluation report on Prices Point refers to a ‘dredged channel’ and a ‘significant breakwater’ for the LNG tankers, the development of a land based processing hub and pipeline access over the cliff face which we are assured would be mostly buried. Do we really want the constant whirring of helicopters and the rumbling of heavy machinery along our peaceful coast line? The report does recognise that Prices Point is a ‘popular recreational area and extensively accessed by the Traditional Owners’ and important for pearling leases in the vicinity. It also acknowledges a negative effect on tourism, air services, accommodation and on the local workforce. So why destroy Prices Point which has been formed over millions of years and is nature’s gift for all of us to enjoy?

Brian Kane Broome