Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tourism Impact Assessment Report Released

The Tourism Impact Assessment Report was released yesterday. Red Hand has skimmed the Report in order to compiled a quick summary, raise questions and highlight a few of our concerns.

The purpose of the Tourism Impact Assessment was to report on the potential negative and positive impacts of the proposed construction and ongoing operation of the proposed LNG Precinct in the vicinity of James Price Point on the tourism industry in Broome and the West Kimberley region.

This Report has illustrated that the consultants have no understanding of the social fabric underlays of the Broome community. The report does not acknowledge or have any insight into the people or the community that committed themselves and built a viable tourism industry, over many years, out of hard work and little to no support from the State Government. Now, just when the Broome Brand is branded they wish to dismiss all this effect and expense to impose an industry that will completely destroy all this hard dedicated work and write off people’s personal and business dreams as inconsequential.

This Report does exactly what the project proponent to the project, the State Government wanted it to achieve, it mitigates the negative impacts by placing responsibility back onto the Broome community and the Shire to manage, and capitalises on peoples economic insecurities to promote unproven positive impacts?

Why does this Report push a line that Broome is not part of the real or true Kimberley?

Why didn’t this Impact Assessment consult with or refer to the Jabirr Jabbirr, Goolarabooloo and Yawuru groups about the Assessment, the consultation process and or Report.?

Why was the vital Entertainment Industry, a very valued contributor to the Broome tourism coddled into the Report under the section titled food providers/entertainment?

Why was there no mention or recognition of Broome’s Music, Arts and Film industries in the whole report? No appreciation or understanding of how these industries contributed to the development of and totally underpinned Broome's tourist brand. It was these industries that first drew attention to Broome, it was these industries that projected Broome out onto the national and international stage. And this industry continues to do so to this very day.

Why was the length of time people have lived in Broome, so significant in the Report’s findings? If these factors were so imperative why haven’t the locals, who were born and bred in Broome been consulted, included or considered in this Impact Assessment?

Why does this report use the same language as the Social Impact Assessment and the same cut & pasts approach and many of the previous Reports, NDT, Scope, Social Assessment Vol 1, when it was undertaken by private consultants?

Why hasn’t this report looked at the four different development scenarios?
1 – no development,
2 – Low Case,
3 – Medium and
4 – High case?

Why were the consultants compiling this report under the same direction as the KLC, who are currently undertaking the Cultural/Heritage SIA:- "to mitigate and manage the negative impacts and capitalise on any positive impacts?"

As part of this study, 100 Broome residents were required to be interviewed to quantify the perceptions of the resident population in terms of the impact of a proposed LNG Precinct at James Price Point.

A survey was sent out, and many Broome people responded to it, believing it to be a bona fide residential survey, believing that their opinions were finally being sort and that this Survey was open to all Broome's residents to respond.

Survey Invitations sent = 254
Responses = 612
Verified Responses44 = 119 (46.9%)

However, according to the Report, 612 participant’s surveys were not included in the final analysis.

“It became evident within the first couple of days of the questionnaires being distributed that recipients who felt strongly about this issue would forward it to others who shared the same concerns. As noted above, over 600 responses were received of which only 119 were returned with a unique survey number that had been generated when the invitations were sent. Only those surveys having a system-generated, unique, source code were included in the final analysis. It is interesting to note that of the 493 unverified responses returned, 2 were supportive of the LNG Precinct development while 491 were strongly opposed".

If a Survey has the ability to draw such a strong community inquisitiveness and trepidation then surely this response needs serious analysis and should not be dismissed so readily or with such condescension.

This was one of the questions in the Residents Survey: The anti gas lobby is doing more harm to tourism than the LNG Precinct would ever create . How is this type of questioning acceptable or relevant in a Tourism Impact Assessment?

Is the Broome Shire fully aware of how busy as they are going to be because they are listed as the major driver in managing the mitigating impacts?

Why does the Report try to perpetuate a myth of division and competition between the East and West Kimberley?

“The “no gas” lobby is expressing opinions without having all the facts. Some basic information needs to be published sooner rather than later, otherwise tourists may see the gas plant as a negative” The No Gas lobby have been saying exactly this “there is no facts out there, no information has been made available, workshops have been closed, dubious survey spend around town, Master Plans hidden for the public, and invested interest groups driving the format, process and outcomes of the Report’s findings.

“The Shire needs to be far more proactive in taking a lead role to ensure that Broome leverages the infrastructure it needs to support the town and the tourism industry” On what grounds, on what findings, on who’s say was this statement supported and how was this verified?

This report was submitted to the Government in June why has this report taken so long to be released?

Has the State Government made any changes or spin doctored the original report?

Tourism Assessment Report, P. 18
5: Residents Survey 81 | P a g e
Section 5: Residents Survey P a g e 92
Appendices 193 | P a g e
Appendices 193 | P a g e

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