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.

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