The only vocabulary that has changed throughout this whole Assessment process has been the name of the project instead of the Kimberley LNG Project it is now being referred to as Browse LNG Project. Why.? Because the intention is to confuse people and because the Kimberley already has a national and international brand that does not include industrialisation.
The Kimberley Brand has assisted the conservation & preservation groups to build strong national and international campaigns because the Kimberley is sexy, in its beauty, remoteness and its wildness. It’s one small corner on the planet that still has biodiversity and has been left relatively unmolested.
So who will assess all the volumes of the Social Impact Assessments, associated the proposed Kimberley LNG Project? Under what legislation or Act will the volumes upon volumes of reports be assessed, who will assess them, and how will they be assessed?
According to the Kimberley (Browse) LNG Precinct – Scope of the Strategic Assessment, Section 14: Peer Review Process it stated:
“Given the significant environment and the scale and complexity of the proposal, there is required a high level of confidence of the technical work underpinning the Strategic Assessment. As such there is an intention to undertake ongoing reviews of the strategic assessment process and of all deliverables and outputs. Arrangements for Peer review, including the establishment of a Peer Review Panel consisting of members from government and non-government sectors are to be advised.”
So when is the WA Government going to advise us about the arrangements for this Peer review? When does the WA Government plan to establish this Peer Review Panel? Who will be the members of this Panel? When will the boarder community and stakeholders be advised of the establishment and makeup of this Panel and will the community be included?
Then, we are informed in Volume 3, Strategic Assessment Impact Management Plan, November 2010. 8. Social Aspects and Matters of National Environmental Significance, page 28, that:
“Importantly, this Social Impact Assessment is not being considered under those environmental acts, Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) and Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), but under the Terms of Reference for the Strategic Assessment as agreed by the Western Australian and Commonwealth Government.”
But when you return to refer to the Terms of Reference for the Strategic Assessment, there are no Terms and there are no References about how the Social Impacts Reports will be considered. There is no mention of the legislation or the Act under which they would be assessed or by whom. Only under an Attachment C, titled Strategic Assessment - Endorsement Criteria: attached to the original State and Commonwealth Agreement states:
“In arriving at a decision to approve an action or a class of actions the Minister must act in accordance with his obligations, including giving consideration to:
• issues relevant to any matter protected by a provision of the EPBC Act; and
• social and economic matters.”
However, those economic and social matters have never been clearly defined, outline or clarified either in the Terms of Reference or in the Strategic Assessment Report.
So, how does the Social Impact Assessment Process really work, when there is nothing in place to assess the process, the reports, their findings or people’s responses to these reports?
Many people are currently out there, plowing through the volumes, working their hearts out, writing up their objections, questionings and challenging the findings within all six volumes of reports, but to what avail?
Basically, our community, our sense of place, our lifestyle values, our love for Country and hope for the future will be assessed under the Biodiversity Act! We've been hoodwinked.