Growing community resistant to the world’s largest LNG Refinery being “landed” south of James Price Point, the guttural opposition to the barbaric notion of compulsory acquisition is giving Woodside sleepless nights. Yesterday, Mike Hession, the vice president for Woodside's Browse Basin Project launched Woodside’s new PR campaign on regional radio. (Just click on the link above at ABC Kimberley to hear) A cheap orchestrated marketing manovere by Woodside. They will have to make more than sweet words to convince our community to give up our lifestyle, culture and heritage, our personal and environmental health.
Mike is still pushing the same old fabricated line jobs for indigenous people and he even created a new catch cry jobs on Country. Redhand would like to point out a few facts in regards to indigenous employment issues. Eight out of ten indigenous people who will apply for a position in Woodside will not make it passed the health checks, the police checks, most will not have a driver’s license, many will have drug and alcohol issues, the majority of them will be living in over crowded houses with all the social mayhem that accompanies these situations. Gasing people will not solve these issues either nor will the beads and mirrors of their newly announced, Kimberley crawling Woodside Roadshow.
Woodside needs to come clean on the facts that most of the employment will be offered to experienced qualified FIFO workers. Local businesses are finally realizing that most of the contractors and suppliers will be sourced out of town.
Currently, the few ‘chosen’ local people Woodside is employing are pilfering the workers from the non government sector, using the training other locally grown organisations have invested in these employees over years. They are being enticed away with housing subsidies and large salaries. So local, experienced, social service sector personal and civic workers will be in very short supply; with the waves of social impacts that will befall our community, (should this project be signed off on) they will be greatly missed.
Many local business people will also find it difficult to retain workers because they will not be able to compete with Woodside’s salary packages and with the predicted unaffordable hike in rentals, many of their employees will have enormous difficulties securing accommodation.
When the estimated 6000 – 9000 construction workers plague our town and start to lieu the local women with big money and big talk this will only increase the tensions of alienation and feelings of frustration. When 3035 dinghies are launched out into Roebuck Bay every weekend trying to catch fish, as opposed to the current 35, only then will people start to feel the waves of resentment toward the industrialisation of our community.
According to the State Government the land in question is Crown Land, Redhand would like to know why the Crown doesn’t have to prove their continuous cultural connection to Country? And how obtusely ridiculous it is that they are thieving Country all over again.
The Original Peoples have had to spend years and years in the courts, after years and years of trying to get there, just to get some form of recognition, some worthless paper title. Everyone knows that the “native title process” is one that divides people and families. People understand how it diminishes the old people’s health quickly and now people are starting to understand that it is not an end in itself. If Native Title is granted it does not offer any real benefits, protection or any real land title by which you can borrow from the banks to create community business initiatives, culturally appropriate employment and ownership opportunities.
Can Woodside’s name and it’s international brand honestly afford to be associated with a State Government who is currently contravening major national and international human rights with the theft of more Indigenous lands with its continuous appalling treatment of the local communities and Indigenous people? The international and national spotlight is well and truly on James Price Point and the no gas campaign will act as the symbolic historical signpost for all Australian’s who are calling out for real leadership, sustainable change and who are now voting green in the booths.
According to Mike, construction is scheduled to begin at the end of 2012 with the first gas being processed in 2017. Meanwhile, there will be a lot of devastation done even in early investigative stages. Our groundwater will be removed to determine how quickly it will bleed. Our reef system is already suffering greatly from the drilling regime that has been operating for months now, the fragile and rare Remnant Rainforest ecosystem with all its living creatures will be greatly effected by the noise, movement of traffic and the vibrations of danger reverberating through the ground itself. The unthinkable desecration of the Lurujarri, the cutting of tracks across the Songline, the bruising and total disrespect for the cultural dreaming will be widely felt long before the final decision is made.
Mike Hession stated that the life span is estimated to be between 30 and 40 years and yet all of the reports provided so far including KLC Social Impact Fact sheets, state that it will have a life span of 99 years.
He says the company was directed to use James Price Point, out of 42 other sites. He says that the public can shape the appearance and scope of the company's precinct during planning but they cannot say they don’t want it at all!. Redhand was shown a card trick when it was a child, you can trick people into choosing the card you want them to pick. This is exactly the same trick, instead of cards they are playing with country.
Mr Hession says he feels a huge responsibility to Broome residents Redhand relates to this and wonders if Mr Hession feels that same responsibility for the massive social turmoil, economic calamity and environmental destruction imposed on both the Karratha, and in Ohant, Algeria. Unfortunately, we are all acutely aware that our elected representative Carol Martin does not feel the same sense of responsibility
Mike, you may claim that your Company is trying to be good Corporate Citizen but your company’s track record tells a completely different story. Your company has got away with social murder and environmental destruction for too long and this is one community who will never issue Woodside the Social Licence to Operate. In the spirit of transparency Redhand offers the following advice to you, start by telling the people of Broome and the Dampier Peninsula communities the truth, make yourself available in public for an open forum where questions and answers can be aired. Stop hiding Woodside’s intentions under the state government skirts in the closet of WA newspapers.
In Mike’s interview only one thing he said rang true for Redhand, that he “will never understand Indigenous people’s connection to Country”. On Mike’s invitation, Redhand encourages everyone to visit the Woodside Office personally and raise your concerns. Because the current make up of Woodside’s new Community Social Impact group is pro development and industry with little too no representation from either the non government agencies or from the community itself. Far too little and much too late.