Friday, April 23, 2010

How long is a piece of string, how big is the hole in the bucket

PROPOSED BROWSE LNG PRECINCT, Walmadan (James Price Point)

All is quiet on the western front and the silence is almost deafening as some major spanners play their imperative and indispensable role in slowing down the whole process for the proposed development of a LNG precinct at Walmadan (James Price Point).

All the humbug happening with regards to all the Native Title business has in all reality stopped the final formulation and content of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA). The ILUA has to provide the formal legal consent required under the Native Title Act 1993 for the valid establishment of the proposed LNG precinct at Walmadan (James Price Point) and the valid grant of the titles by the state to project proponents.

How valid then is both the Heads of Agreement and the Heritage Protection Agreement signed by the State, Woodside and the KLC (Kimberley Land Council)?

Meanwhile, in the Legislative Council on Tuesday the 20th of this week the Hon Robin Chapple asked several questions to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Hon Norman Moore about the proposed LNG Precinct at James Price Point. Department of State Development
(File Notation Area 8589).

Robin Chapple
Q 1. What is the total area (land and sea) covered by area 8589 ‘Proposed LNG Precinct’?

Norman Moore
A 1. 466.91 square kilometers, which is 46,691 hectares.

Robin Chapple
Q 2. Is the land area covered by area 8589 ‘Proposed LNG Precinct’ approximately 258.2 square kilometres?

Hon Norman Moore
A 2. The land area covered by File Notation Area 8589 is 262.8147 square kilometers which is 26,281 hectares

This is a lot more area than the Premier Colin Barnett has led the public to believe. Barnett stated on the Oct. 15 2008 “the precinct would be built on about 1,000 hectares, which he said was a small amount of land “in an area twice the size of Victoria state.”

on Dec 19 2008 “a 10km strip of land at James Price Point offered a range of potential development”.

on the Dec, 23rd 2008 "a balance of factors, had led to the choice of James Price for the 1,000 to 2,000 hectare industrial estate.”

And on the Wed 15 April, “The precinct at James Price Point would occupy about 1,000 hectares. With accommodation, ancillary services and an appropriate land and sea buffer, the total area may be up to 3,500 hectares.”

On the 12 April, 2010
The Hon Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy Minister for Tourism stated “James Price Point represents about 2000 hectares of the Kimberley. That is, in essence, 0.0005 per cent of the Kimberley land mass and if a gas hub actually goes ahead it'll have to meet all the appropriate environmental considerations required by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act”.

According to the Kimberley Social Impact Assessment Vol 1.
Scope and Profile July 2009
, page 25
the precinct will be around 2000-2500 hectares of land and approximately 1000 hectares of sea will be required for port facilities. It is anticipated that each operator would occupy 500 hectares including key infrastructure separation buffers. Precinct land area will also include infrastructure corridors, laydown areas and possible heritage protection land areas totaling 500 to 1500 hectares.

On the Department of State development website
states: The total land area of the precinct, will be about 2,000 to 2,500 hectares - just 0.2 per cent of the 1,400,000 hectare Dampier Peninsula.

In the Browse LNG Public Information Booklet
states on page 8
The Precinct will comprise areas of exclusive and non-exclusive access.
The exclusion zone is proposed to contain:
an industrial precinct (fenced) being:
two industrial blocks with each block exclusively accommodating stand-alone facilities for the relevant proponent allocated to the block (total of approximately 1,000ha); and common user area (service corridors, lay down areas and internal buffer areas,
being a total of approximately 500 - 1,000ha); and
land (fenced) and waters of the port (area to be determined but likely to be approximately 1,000ha).
The non-exclusion zone (unfenced) is proposed to contain:
workers. accommodation (up to 200ha);
light industrial area (up to 200ha);
access roads; and a buffer zone around the exclusion zone (approximately 3,000ha).

Tourism Impact Assessment – Kimberley Liquefied Natural Gas Project 2009, page 21 states: The James Price Point area about 60km north of Broome covers about 25,000 hectares or 250 km2, itself only a small part of the 13,000 sq km Dampier Peninsula.

According to Kimberley Land Council’s Aboriginal Social Impact Assessment Fact Sheet # 1. the following areas would be set aside for the gas precinct:

• Processing plants: 1000 hectares
• Infrastructure and facilities 500 – 1000 hectares
• Land and water for port 1000 hectares
• Workers accommodation, light industrial area etc: 200 – 500 hectares.

This gives a total area of between 2700 – 3500 hectares, which would be fenced and another 3000 hectares for the Buffer Zone.

Browse Liquefied Natural Gas Precinct (BLNG) (notice the name change) – Infrastructure Assessment Study,
8th Feb 2010, page 6 under the Heading The BLNG Precinct Location states the BLNG precinct will cover an area between Coloumb Point and Quondong Beach, south of James Price Point. There is no mention of the size of the area within this document.

So it seems that no one knows precisely how big this precinct will be? And more importantly no one has any idea precisely where the Precinct will be located, so how can people make informed decisions?

And whilst on the subject, where is the Department of State Development’s BLNG document Project Description including Emissions, Discharges and Waste, released on Jan 2010 and why isn’t this document available on the DSD website?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Expression of Concern at Proposal to Construct Gas-Processing Hub at James Price Point, on the coast of the Dampier Peninsula, in the Kimberley Region

17-25 September 2009
This document expresses concern at the recently-announced proposal to exploit natural petroleum gas resources of the Browse Basin by installing a pipe-line and gas-processing hub on the coast of the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia.

This expression of concern is directed to the State Government of Western Australia, the Federal Government of Australia, and all or any of their corporate industrial partners who may be engaged in exploiting mineral resources of the Browse Basin.

Signatories to this document are professional scientists with special research interests in geological and biological evidence relating to the discipline of Vertebrate Palaeontology (the study of extinct vertebrate animals) and, more specifically, in terrestrial ecosystems of the Mesozoic Era (the 'Age of Dinosaurs'). These shared concerns are expressions of personal opinion and should not be interpreted as the views of any particular organizations or professional bodies.

Recently the State Government of Western Australia announced a well-advanced proposal to exploit natural gas resources of the Browse Basin by installing a pipe-line and gas-processing plant in the region of James Price Point, on the western coast of the Dampier Peninsula. The announcement provoked widespread and serious concern because Dampier Land is the western part of the Kimberley region, recognized internationally as one of the last five great wilderness areas remaining on this planet.* The first geological survey of the Dampier region was undertaken as recently as 1947, and much of the Kimberley remains unexplored to this day. Recent ecological investigations (2007-09) reported "amazing" diversity of animals and "countless" new and hitherto unknown species of plants.* In addition the Kimberley coastline was described as "spectacular and fragile". It seems singularly inappropriate to site major industrial developments in such a pristine environment, especially as its natural resources still await scientific investigation.

The proposal for a gas-processing hub mentioned merely that there were reports of dinosaur tracks in the area. In fact, the Dampier coast has provided practically the entire fossil record of dinosaurs in the western half of the Australian continent (the exceptions being a few small fragments of bone). Coastal exposures of the Broome Sandstone between Broome and Cape Leveque yield unique and richly informative insights into terrestrial ecosystems of Early Cretaceous age (approximately 132 million years old) and have been the focus of ongoing scientific research since 1991. The ancient Cretaceous landscapes were buried intact, and today those fossil landscapes are being exhumed by coastal erosion, revealing the original topography, with soils, leaf-litter and plants such cycads and ferns still in their original position of growth. The sites also contain evidence of invertebrate animals and crocodiles, but the most impressive fossils are the tracks of dinosaurs, some of them in densely-packed profusion. There are at least 15 different types of dinosaur tracks, representing every major group of the Dinosauria.† Some types are extremely rare, even unique; others represent dinosaurs that ranked among the largest yet known to science. Today one may walk across those ancient landscapes, following the tracks of dinosaurs as they meandered between the clumps of vegetation more than 130 million years ago. Few sites on Earth afford such opportunities to explore ancient terrestrial ecosystems in such complete and undisturbed condition.

The dino-saurian track-sites of the Dampier coast are rare and precious resources, with no parallel in other parts of Australia. They deserve to be protected, rather than jeopardised by industrial developments. Some of the most important sites happen to be situated in the central western sector of the Dampier coast - where they face the greatest risk of damage or degradation if industrial development is allowed to proceed in the region of James Price Point.

The proposed development should not be envisaged as an inconspicuous pipe-line. It entails the establishment of an exclusion zone (no go area) along the coast, the construction of a jetty (perhaps 2-3 km), an industrial precinct occupying 2,500 hectares of land and 1,000 hectares of sea, an extensive series of chemical processing plants and a factory to utilise by-products in the manufacture of agricultural fertiliser. The transit of heavy traffic (hundreds of trucks per day) will require the construction of the first sealed roads, and there must also be facilities to accommodate the labour-force and support staff. Then, with gas on tap, it may become economically feasible to commence bauxite mining and to build an aluminium smelter.

The proposal to site these industrial developments at James Price Point is manifestly the 'quick, cheap and easy' option. Other options exist, such as a pipe-line north-eastwards to Darwin, where the requisite infrastructure is already planned in order to exploit petroleum resources of the Timor Sea. Another option is a pipe-line south-eastwards to the Pilbara mining and industrial region. A third option is processing at the wellhead - loading the gas straight into tankers - which might be appropriate as most of it (>80%) is destined for export anyway. We urge decision-makers at all stages - federal, state and corporate - to adopt one of these (or similar) options, thus preserving the integrity of the Kimberley and its wealth of natural and scientific treasures.

*:Taggart, D. 2009. Pristine, precious and threatened. Zoo Times (Royal Zoological Society of South Australia), March 2009: 14-15.
† Thulborn, T. 2009. Dinosaur Tracks of the Broome Sandstone, Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia - interim review. A report prepared for the Kimberley National Heritage Assessment, Natural & Indigenous Heritage Branch, Australian Federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage & the Arts. November 2009, 25 pp.

Dr Tony Thulborn.
19 November 2009

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vincent Angus, Northern Tradition Law Boss

Vincent Angus, a Northern Tradition Law Boss speaking about how Kimberley Land Council staff refused himself and the other Law Bosses entry into the Goolarabooloo /Jabirr Jabirr Claimant Meeting, last Wednesday.

Eventually, the Law Bosses took their place in the meeting, only to have the Kimberley Land Council initiate a vote by a show of hands to have them removed. They stayed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jabirr Jabirr clan group voted to remove themselves from the original Goolarabooloo / Jabirr Jabirr Native Title Claim

Today the Jabirr Jabirr clan group voted to remove themselves from the original Goolarabooloo / Jabirr Jabirr Native Title Claim and splinter off. Following is a series of footage taken over the day, throughout the meeting, until I was asked to leave.

The Goolarabooloo claimant group application still sits in the Native Title Tribunal. Today, the real Traditional Owners for this Country in question, the Ngumbarl people (the quite ones) stood side by side with Goolarabooloo, in respect for each other position and their inherent legacies.

This meeting highlighted to me the division that this proposed LNG precinct is doing to the Indigenous communities on the Dampier Peninsula. Law Bosses from as far north as Bardi country traveled to Broome to speak and support Joseph Roe. But still, no respect was shown to them in regards to how decisions are made in regards to law & culture and the proper way in which decisions are made for country.

This video shows a lawyer addressing the gathering and asking "if they were happy if the Senior Law Men see and observe the process and sit in on the meeting?". Then the people were asked if they were happy to have the meeting filmed by anyone else?, except Kimberley Land Council ! and a show of hands were called for. Only a few raised their hands but Red Handed decided to leave because they did not want their presents, to distract from the real business.

Following the lunch break, the Jabirr Jabirr people decided to splinter off and left the meeting only to gather in the lawn in front of the Cable Beach Club, (interestingly to note that the shade tents had already been erected and were waiting) leaving the Goolarabooloo people at the conference venue.

Even when Red handed remained at a respectful distance, security were still instructed to stop me filming.

Upon their return, to the larger group, representatives from the splintering Jabirr Jabirr clan group informed the Northern Law Bosses, the Goolarabooloo custodians , the Jabirr Jabirr supporters and the rightful Traditional Owners for the Country in question, the Ngumbarl people that they had voted to splinter away from the original joint Native Title Claim and submit their own whole new claim. At this point, Kerrianne Cox, spokeswomen for the Ngumbarl people stated that they also have made the decision to stand strong and unite along alongside the Goolarabooloo Custodians and also submit a Claim.

Please note that the final section of this footage was filmed by a young Goolarabooloo women and not Red handed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Will the rightfull people please stand Up.

If nothing else, it is hoped that today's meeting will finally bring the truth out, not only about KLC's questionable tactics to railroad the Cultural Law Bosses but the real Traditional Owners the Ngumbarl people will finally stand up and take their rightfull place at the table.

Like many Indigenous people the Ngumbal people suffered greatly when they were removed from their Country and taken to Beagle Bay as the stolen generations. It was because of this that Paddy Roe, Joseph Roe grandfather, from Goolarabooloo was given both the law and custodianship for this particular Country and for the last eighty years have look after the country, the law and the Songline. The Djaberadjabera mob who's language is Jabirr Jabirr have no cultural rights over this country and they will need to move back to their country which is north of Coulomb Point and travels north to Beagle Bay.

Court documents show the group's spokesman, Joseph Roe, a Cultural Law Boss and head of the Goolarabooloo with signatures from over 200 members lodged a Federal Court writ on Thursday, challenging the validity of the process.

Mr Roe says he will be assembling the entire native title claimant group tomorrow to convince them the court action is needed.

"I need to talk to my mob firstly, and other people, to let them know what's really going on."They have to hear it from me before it goes on anywhere yet."

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL - Thursday, 22 October 2009]

Hon Ken Baston; Hon Robin Chapple; Hon Norman Moore

When it comes to the Browse Basin gas development, as I say, the Northern Development Taskforce had been meeting and having lengthy discussions with the traditional owners, the KLC and others who are not party to the KLC. There seems to be some idea that the KLC represents all Indigenous claimants; that is not the case. The KLC represents a large majority of claimants right across the Kimberley, but it is interesting to note that the KLC does not represent the traditional owner from that area, Mr Joe Roe. Joe Roe is a former member of the KLC and has made a number of statements recently. Probably the most important one was in The Weekend Australian of Saturday, 3 October 2009. In an article by Nicolas Perpitch, Mr Roe, as the cultural representative of the area, was asked whether he would support the development at James Price Point. The article states —

He says he voted no as part of his responsibilities to protect the cultural “songline” from north of the Dampier Peninsula to James Price Point and south to Bidyadanga. “I don’t think you’ve got to give up one part of the area to save the Kimberley. I want to keep my culture and heritage alive, not destroy it,” …

Roe says it’s up to the federal and state governments to support health, education and other basics, and these shouldn’t be dependent on a land deal.