Friday, December 9, 2011

"Legal battle not over" - ABC Kimberley WA - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

"Legal battle not over" - ABC Kimberley WA - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A retired Federal Court judge has warned the State Government can expect to find itself in court again over the proposed Kimberley gas hub.

Murray Wilcox QC, who handed down the Noongar native title ruling over Perth in 2006, was commenting on this week's Supreme Court decision which found that the Government's notices of intention to acquire land for the project were invalid.

A Woodside spokeswoman said yesterday's the court ruling was a matter for the state and would not delay the project.

''The provision of the land for the Browse LNG precinct is a matter for the state,'' she said. ''We don't believe that this result will impact on the project schedule.''

However, Michael Orlov, a lawyer for the Goolarabooloo people's representative Phillip James Roe, said Woodside faced delays.

''The minister wanted to be in a position to assure Woodside that they would have security of tenure by the end of this year, so Woodside can make an investment decision next year,'' Mr Orlov said.

''That's not possible at this stage.''

Mr Orlov said it would take Lands Minister Brendon Grylls about 12 months to submit fresh notices of intent to take land in the area.

In the meantime, proceedings to declare a songline area at the site under the Aboriginal Heritage Act was set to start as early as next week, Mr Orlov said.

Mr Orlov said the proceedings could halt the Browse development.

''Any ground-disturbing work in the area should have been approved by the minister under the Heritage Act,'' he said. ''It hasn't been, so until that approval is obtained, it may well have an impact [on the development].''

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