Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Minister Burke meets with the Broome Community

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke arrived in Broome this morning to a rapturous reception from anti-gas protestors, who have pinned their hopes on him refusing to grant environmental approval to the State Government’s proposed $30 billion gas processing precinct at James Price Point.

As soon as he stepped off the plane, Mr Burke headed north to meet traditional owners including Phillip Roe, who gave him a personal tour of the coastal site.

Known as Walmadan to locals, it is one of many recommended for national heritage listing by the Australian Heritage Council for its unique dinosaur trackways, judged to be internationally significant.

Mr Burke is due to make a decision on the heritage listing at the end of this month, although his final decision on the gas precinct is thought to be several months away.

Broome Shire Councillor Elsta Foy appealed to Mr Burke to listen to the community’s concerns.

“What is going to happen to us with all this happening, with Woodside here,” she said.

“They have no permission from the Federal Government, Environment or Heritage, or anything and yet they’re allowed to come and clear our land – if they expect us to keep the law, they have to keep the law too.

“We’re trying to preserve our law and culture and my concern is that we won’t be allowed to come here anymore."

Ms Foy urged Mr Burke to look at that declaration of the rights of indigenous people, to which the government is a signatory. "You take that away from us all and we have nothing," she said.

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