Thursday, November 20, 2008

Aboriginals want $2m more to continue gas talks

20th November 2008, 6:00 WST
The Western Australian are reporting this today.

The Kimberley Land Council has asked the State Government for another $2 million to consult traditional land owners on a site for a gas processing precinct on the coast.

The Government confirmed it is negotiating with KLC over the request for more money, which would be in addition to the almost $7 million already paid to the group by the Carpenter government.

The West Australian revealed recently that taxpayers paid almost $7 million to KLC in two instalments in February and June under an agreement with the previous government.

The funding enabled KLC to consult traditional land owners on whether they supported any development, then produce a shortlist of potential sites.

Industry sources told The West Australian that in addition to the $7 million, KLC was paid $3.5 million by development proponent Inpex as part of negotiations over a site.

KLC selected four possible sites for the processing hub in September after eight months of consulting traditional owners.

KLC executive director Wayne Bergmann said yesterday his group had requested $2.2 million in new funding to consult traditional owners in relation to the selection of a single site for developing gas resources off the Kimberley coast.

“There are some in the mining, oil and gas industries and Government who would prefer that Aboriginal people did not have enough resources to represent their rights when negotiating with multi-national companies,” he said.

A spokesman for Colin Barnett said negotiations were under way on whether KLC would be given the extra money.

He said once that decision was made, the Government would determine how much KLC would get.

It is understood the additional funding would be for two months work but KLC would not confirm this yesterday.

The Premier last month named North Head, north of Beagle Bay, as his preferred site for the gas precinct in the Kimberley.

Last week, a group of Aboriginals who live at Beagle Bay set up a roadblock to stop senior bureaucrats from the Government’s Northern Development Taskforce entering the community to discuss the plan.

But The West Australian understands KLC held a meeting yesterday with traditional owners of the area who voted in favour of continuing negotiations with the Government’s task force.

Asked about the vote numbers, a KLC spokesman said the group could not confirm anything in relation to decisions taken at the meeting of traditional owners.

KLC will meet traditional owner members of a task force from the four native title groups from the shortlisted areas on Wednesday.


1 comment:

  1. How much money does Wayne Bergman require?
    10.5 milion spent consulting with the Traditional Owners.Enough is enough.the blockade proved outright that the Traditional Owners have had major representation already.No money or representation has been provided for all other stakeholders that have leases,businesses and connections to country.It is time to hand over governance of the Beagle bay lease to the Indigenous people that live at Beagle Bay.Legal representation should be provided to the new indigenous governing body of Beagle Bay.
    KLC`s role was to provide legal support and advice Native Title claims.KLC should be left out of all negotiations to do with LNG.
    Yours sincerely
    Frederick J Finkelstein