Friday, December 5, 2008

Woodside compensation offer inadequate: Kimberley elders

December 04, 2008
Article from: The Australian

KIMBERLEY traditional owners are furious at mining giant Woodside over a compensation offer for a proposed gas hub development in Western Australia's far north.
The Kimberley Land Council, which represents native title claimants at the four potential sites for the hub, said the proposal was “offensive”.

The proposal is understood to have required traditional Aboriginal owners to agree there were no heritage indigenous issues that would preclude the development going ahead at any of the four 1000 hectare sites.

It is also understood there was no offer of put-through, or royalties, in relation to the project.

Kimberley Land Council chief executive, who has written to Woodside chief Don Voelte rejecting the proposal, said it fell well below standard agreements between mining companies and Aboriginal people and would have given the company carte blanche, setting Aboriginal rights back 30 years.

“It is an insult,” he said.

“They want us to sign away our heritage rights before we even know where the project is, and what impact the project will have on Aboriginal communities.

Mr Bergman said the offer had been made in the context of Premier Colin Barnett’s threats of compulsory land acquisition.

“Woodside is attempting to negotiate with us with a gun to our head, with the state,” he said.

But Woodside said its benefits package would deliver significant social and economic benefits to Aboriginal people, including annual payments for education, training and compensation for native title owners, worth up to $500 million over the life of the project.

“Woodside is basing its proposal on a shortlist of potential sites drawn up by the Kimberley Land Council, so is working on the presumption these sites do not have significant heritage issues,” Woodside said in a statement.

“In any event it is proposed that if a Kimberley site is selected a comprehensive heritage survey will be conducted.”


  1. Woo Hoo! Best news I've had all week. Lets hope they keep messing with due process!!!

  2. well KLC has finally let the cat out of the bag, about a month after they sat at the table with woodside whilst the NDT were on country trying to get drilling permission and KLC was nowhere in sight>apart from shame on woodside which is what the rest of the community already knows(that woodside has a terrible track record on these things)once again shame on KLC for even sitting at their table.Why the KLC has ever trusted these mob beats me.And yes it does seem weird that there are 4 sites still on the table.Just say no KLC!!!get with it!!!!you are being fooled and completely out of touch with community feeling on this one.The Whales will save the day.

  3. The KLC are some of the biggest sell outs. They much like the elders are only saying this till they get more money and then they roll over and play nice. Thats the way it has been and they it always will be especially if the same people who currently make up the KLC are allowed to continue doing what their doing. And I think its insulting for them to hide behind the banner of "cultral heritage" since many wouldn't know their own cultre if they tripped over and broke their nose of the ground.