Friday, January 29, 2010

Tick the Box Exercise for James Price Point.

The Department of State Development is holding its second shopping centre display, this time at the Boulevarde Shopping Centre in Broome today, Friday with tomorrow morning proposed as well. It was a minimal display on one pin up board and with documents displayed on a table, attended by two representatives from the Department of State Development Gary Simmons ( Project Manager) and Andrea Jardine-Orr (Project Manager Social Impact Assessment). People asked why this ’consultation’/community information had not been properly advertised (date, time and place), it was not in the last Kimberley LNG Precinct Update in the Broome Advertiser published 10th December, and as far as Redhand can ascertain not in the Public Notices of the same paper on 17th December, nor the January 2010 editions, nor was it advertised on the Department’s website . A pretty poor effort.

The display included large signs saying “have your say” but when asked the above simple questions as to why it wasn’t advertised, sadly the Project Manager for the Kimberley LNG Precinct project called for Police and Security when these questions were asked by more than just Redhand.
The display provided little to no information and the only take away information that was available were the Departments of State Development’s Facts sheets which are basically advertising materials that is selling the aspirations of the state. One copy of WVegetation and Flora Survey of James Price Point: Wet Season 2009 (PDF 4542kb), the James Price Point Terrestrial Fauna Survey: Wet Season 2009 (PDF 6655kb) Fishing Industry Impact Report (interesting to note that this particular Report is not available on the Department’s website) and a copy of the Strategic Assessment Document. However, what was really interesting was the documents that were not provided or displayed are as follows:

Browse LNG Precinct - Public Information Booklet
Browse LNG Precinct Appendix 2
Browse LNG Precinct Appendix 3
Draft Scope of Strategic Assessment as of 10 August 2009
Appendices to Draft Scope of Strategic Assessment
Tourism Impact Assessment – Kimberley Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project
Social Impact Assessment - Scope and Profile (Vol 1)
Site Assessment for a Supply Base to Support the Browse Basin
Kimberley Projects Map
Kimberley Projects Map (including parks, reserves and local government and pastoral boundaries)
Browse Basin Distance to Processing Map
James Price Point Map

How not to do a Community Consultation by Department of State Development.

One shopper who saw the ‘have your say’ sign attended the display to find out what it was all about, also enquired about the project and when this was advertised. She also queried the Background on the Information Sheet and was promptly told to fuck off, twice. Part of her complaint reads:
“....I approached the stall and was in conversation with the lady on the stall, when a minor distraction occurred as a member of the Broome community was very upset that this so-called public consultation had not been advertised. In response, your public servant, Mr Symons was insistent that the opportunity to be consulted had been advertised in the local paper. Although a thorough reader of the paper I had not seen this advert, and have subsequently come home and checked and still can not find any advert for this consultation in the paper for January 21st or 28th. (unless it was in the entertainment section of the January 21st paper, although this is obviously inappropriate)
After Mr Symons conversation with - was over he attempted to brush off the incident by saying only 1-2% of people were against the project. I and another lady advised him that many more Broome residents than that were against the project. He then amended his statement to say that the project he was referring to was the Social Impact assessment. This was hardly convincing, and led me to believe that Mr Symons is not the neutral public servant that you would expect in a community consultation. .....”

Another couple querying why the information sheet questions didn’t include aspects about the impact on tourism and the impact on whales travelling to Pender Bay were also treated without due respect. These are concerned citizens with very valid questions.
Ok Redhand agrees, that this is a subject causing much concern and angst and that people are likely to become heated but this is not how public servants should be treating the general community who want information or who may perceive this development as a major threat to their community and lifestyle. One wonders how the Commissioner for Public Sector standards would address this?

All in all a pitiful display of information, no maps, no copies of the recently released flora, vegetation and fauna reports for people to take away and read and very little else to actually INFORM people.
Interestingly Redhand understands that SMS messages were sent out to people in Broome at around 4.oopm this afternoon inviting them to the display – a bit late or under pressure? See postscript.

An information sheet was provided for people to tick the box answers to questions, however the background on the Information Sheet didn’t make much sense ‘There development of LNG Precinct situated some 60 kilometres from Broome for onshore processing of Browse Basin gas’ This is inexcusable. A couple of lines were made available for people to make comments. Primarily this is a tick the box exercise, something the Federal Minister for the Environment promised it would not be.

Last night at the Annual Electors’ Meeting at the Shire of Broome a motion was unanimously passed that the Shire lobby the State Government to hold Public Information forums for all Broome people so that they know what’s going on. Pity the Deputy Shire President, Chris Mitchell doesn’t think it has anything to the do with the Shire of Broome, it’s our land, our community and our country.

It looks as though there is a determined effort by the Government to NOT TELL US what is going on. As well as the complete lack of public advertising or any real attempt to get this into the public domain, the Department of State Development was advised in writing at the end of last year that late January was a bad time of year to hold a Shopping Centre Community Consultation Forum/Display in Broome because it is the wet season. There is the risk of cyclones, bad weather and flight delays, dangerous road conditions and inaccessible roads to town for people in other parts of Broome. It is school holidays and there is the focus on preparations to return to school, move into new jobs and new houses; everyone knows that the last week in January, like the second week in December is when all the shift changeover happens contracts end and contracts start, a great percentage of whom are public servants, it is a big turnover of new people and it’s Cultural law practice time.
The Barnett State Government IS NOT LISTENING.
Postscript apparently a phone message to a landline not an sms.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vine Thicket Bush Fruits of James Price Point

Red Hand has not blogged recently, deciding to sit quite, walk and enjoy Country and really feel, smell, see and taste the wet season, instead. Sitting on the edge of the Indian Ocean in the early evenings and watching the storm clouds gather, as lightning plays snakes and ladders across the sky are the planet’s inspirational performances that hearten resolve and shape courage. And that smell, the one that rises up from the earth as those very first rain drops hit the parched and thirsty land. Taste Country, by savoring the appreciation of all the bush fruits that are currently abundant, and found through out the Vine Thickets (Remnant Rainforests) at James Price Point. The wet season, is a wonderful time to be out in Country and in the heat of the day you can find cool shelters under the canopies of the vine thickets whilst you feast on all the fruits of the forest.

Please take the extra time needed to download.

There is an increasing emphasis worldwide on the preservation of habitats and conservation of the biodiversity of life on earth, yet unique natural environments like the Dampier Peninsula continue to be eroded and destroyed by human activities like the proposal to build the biggest 14 Trains LNG Precinct in the world. The Dampier Peninsula has a immense history of Indigenous settlement and a relatively recent one of European exploration and occupation. Its position straddling the arid areas of the south and the monsoonal tropics to the north has resulted in the development of the pindan soils and the unique vegetation that mantles them. The rich dune - associated vine thickets (remnant rain forests) of the Peninsular occur nowhere else in western Australia.

On the 27th Dec 2008 Colin Barnett, the West Australian Premier may also be steeling himself for new year hostility from environmental, Aboriginal and community groups. Barnett announced James Price Point as his choice for the site of a liquefied natural gas processing precinct.

"It is a flat, scrubby coastal strip 60km north of the tourist town of Broome"

The Vine Thicket within this area from Barred Creek northwards through Quondong to James Price Point, there is a significant belt of Vine Thickets noteable for there ever green trees Diospyros ferrea var. humilis, Mimusops elengi, Celtis philippensis, Melaleuca dealbata and, rarely, Parinari. Pittosporum moluccanum is restricted , on the mainland Kimberley, to coastal vine thickets in the James Price Point area of the Peninsula, and has been gazetted as "Declared Rare Flora.

Shrubs include citrus like Glycosmic species and the deciduous habrophyllus. All of these species are at their most southern end.

According to the WA’s Department of State Development Map, the LNG Main operations will be place directly over the most substantial community of remnant rainforest (vine thickets) within the area. They wish to tuck their operations in behind the Holocene sand dunes in order to shelter from the prevailing winds, however once they start their proposed vegetation/habitat clearing and excavation of the remnant rainforest, the Holocene sand dune with become highly unstable and will eventually blow away.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kimberley oil leak disaster:

Go to for interesting submissions to the oil spill inquiry.

PTTEP blames missing equipment for WA oil leak
David Weber Friday, January 15, 2010 08:19:00

Listen to MP3 of this story (minutes)

TANYA NOLAN: Environmental groups have renewed their call for a halt to the expansion of the offshore petroleum industry, after a company revealed the likely causes of a massive oil spill in the Timor Sea.

Oil leaked from the Montara Well Head Platform off Australia's north-west coast over a 10-week period last year.

In its submission to the Montara Commission of Inquiry, the company PTTEP Australasia, says a missing piece of equipment was among the causes of the spill.

Other submissions from environment, marine and industry groups are highly critical of the Federal Government's handling of the case.
PTTEP Australasia media release -
By Jane Bardon and Jano Gibson

One of Australia's largest oil spills might have been prevented had the Northern Territory Government properly monitored offshore wells, the oil safety watchdog says.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority says "a failure in the integrity" of the Montara well, off the north-west Australian coast, led to the spill of thousands of barrels of oil between August and November last year.

In its submission to the federal inquiry into the spill, NOPSA says it had responsibility for the safety of workers, but the Territory Government had responsibility for regulating the integrity of the well.

NOPSA says the Territory government agency responsible for the assessment of well integrity appeared not to be adequately resourced.

It says if NOPSA had been in control of regulation, the risk of a spill would have been far less likely.

"A more focussed and better resourced administration of the arrangements for regulating the integrity of wells would have significantly reduced the likelihood of occurrence of this uncontrolled hydrocarbon release."

However, the submission states that the Territory, and some other states, were reluctant to hand over that power to NOPSA, despite four independent reviews stating that that should be done.

"Some state and/or Northern Territory agencies have appeared reluctant to support changes to the legislation which would facilitate these arrangements.

"As a result, NOPSA presently has no regulatory mechanism to control the integrity of wells."

The authority also says allowing state and territory governments to regulate oil well integrity as well as earn oil and gas revenue is a conflict of interest.

The Territory Government says the Commonwealth provides it with sufficient funds to undertake its role in overseeing oil well integrity.

"The Northern Territory Government forwards all revenue received to the Commonwealth," it said in a statement.

"This issue is currently before the Independent Commissioner."

The federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, says he will not pre-empt the outcome of the inquiry.

"The views expressed by NOPSA are its own," he said.

"NOPSA is one of a number of agencies making submissions to the Montara Inquiry.

"It is the role of the Commissioner to properly consider the merits of all submissions put before him."

The Northern Territory Environment Centre says states and territories should not be responsible for regulating the offshore oil and gas industry.

"This is a Commonwealth matter, it's in Commonwealth waters, it should be regulated by a Commonwealth department," the centre's Dr Stuart Blanch said.

"And, frankly, I think the Territory resources department probably does not have the resources or the expertise or the budget to trip around on a boat off the north coast of Australia, inspecting well platforms."

The Northern Territory Opposition's Dave Tollner says the oil spill highlights the inadequacy of the Territory Government's regulation procedures.

"This is a terrible indictment on the Northern Territory Government," he said.

"I mean here we've got a Government who spends a lot of time talking to people about our environment and how important it is to reduce pollution [and] all of a sudden we see a leak of this nature, something that NOPSA is saying could have been prevented."
Meanwhile, the operation to plug the Montara oil well is now complete, with the successful installation of a pressure cap, PTTEP Australasia says.

A cement plug was first set into the bottom of the well in November, and two mechanical plugs have now also been installed.

Comment: Environs Kimberley []

While we are relieved the Montara well has finally been plugged, we are very concerned that the massive amount of oil that leaked into the Timor sea off the Kimberley coast will have an impact on sea life for years to come.

The government has yet to make it clear how they will make sure this type of disaster doesn’t happen again in an area that has extremely high natural values. The marine areas in the north west have a high diversity of cetaceans such as whales and dolphins and are a hotspot for sea snakes and turtles as well as a huge variety of fish and corals.

The only way to protect the pristine marine areas off the Kimberley coast is not have oil and gas there in the first place. This is what happened on the Great Barrier Reef decades ago and Kimberley coral reefs are of global significance and are just as important.

We need large sanctuaries that protect marine life from threats such as oil leaks otherwise it will no longer be a haven for sea life that is found nowhere else on earth.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Positive Visions of Victorious Conclusions,

To all who are Concerned;

The Broome community is seeking support to initiate and consolidate a national and international campaign to stop the proposed LNG development at James Price Point. We are grateful for those organisations and individuals who have actively contributed to opposing this proposed development. However, it is our considered opinion that a stronger, synchronsised collaboration between all environmental and human rights orgainisations needs to be immediately activated on a regional, national and international level.

We, the people of the Dampier Peninsular need all the major organisations to unite with each other and the locals to spearhead a national campaign, with a global focus to stop this development. Now is the time to work much more closely, share and pool our resources, skills, knowledge and energy, in order for us to build a campaign that is unyielding and determined in our anticipated outcomes. Strong participation from all sections of the global community is urgently needed to support the people on the ground and create an unbending approach that has a collective ambition: a Kimberley free from industrialisation!

Lurujarri Global Walk
• Traditional Custodians, Locals and regional Environmental group initiatives to be supported and encouraged by the larger national environmental and human rights’ organisations. The Lurujarri Global Walk, currently planned for June next year, needs to be supported by all national organisations and their entire membership in order to attract thousands of people from all corners of Australia and the world to ensure this is a history making walk of global significance. (This Global Walk will have its own Website in the coming week, so stay tuned for that address)

Direct Non-Violent Action Workshops
• To build our capacity as a movement to defend Country, we urgently need experienced assistance, skilled facilitators and knowledge on direct action techniques.

Community Education
• Greater access to education, resources, knowledge and information about the proposal, the social, economic and environmental ramifications and the pending damaging results. Public displays and forums are effective methods of educating the broader community and need to be ongoing. Websites and Blogs are another useful tool in reaching the populace. Membership drives in like minded organisations will also assist.

In a joint media release on the 4th of December, 2009, Environs Kimberley, Conservation Council WA and The Wilderness Society stated that if the Resources Minister Martin Ferguson will force industrial LNG development on the pristine Kimberley coast ahead of an environmental assessment it demonstrates reckless disregard for environmental laws, and opens the door for legal challenge. Is being challenged?

It is proving easy for the state government to keep us ill-informed and ill-advised about this proposed Kimberley LNG Precinct. As a small remote community, we are inexperienced to navigate through the potential aftermath. If the development is approved, Broome will battle against a juggernaut of avarice that will flood into our community, bringing with it a mentality and a social direction that is totally contradictory to how, we as a community wish to function.

We are asking organisations to appeal to their networks in entirety. The time frame on these actions is immediate. Please make this a matter of priority today and get this call for support out to your membership and networks.

With positive visions of victorious conclusions,