Saturday, March 23, 2013

State government marginalization and bullying of Broome continues

All the liberal elephants were all lined up, straight after the state election to stampede over our strong defiant community of Broome. Plans are afoot to undertake another invasion into Country to destroy Indigenous and National Heritage. 

In a recent survey undertaken by the Broome Shire is appears that all that we as a community value and what we as a community wish to maintain and nurture is under severe threat. 

Just this week the Broome community was faced with three major agenda items at the shire council meeting.  

9.2.3 Browse LNG Development Marine Facilities and Impact Zone Plan (wait to you see this shoddy mendacious report) 

9.2.7 Responsible Authority Report to Kimberley Joint Development Assessment

9.2.9 Consideration of Improvement Plan and Proposed Improvement Scheme

All three issues have a direct association with the proposed world’s largest LNG refinery being landed in our cultural heritage heartlands. 

All three issues have their own set of direct and devastating impacts that will have a permanent distressing effect  on our community and the values we have cultivated as a community.

All these issues are complex and difficult for most of the community to understand or participate in. The process involved, the technical and bureaucratic clap trap, the ever changing  legislations and the dis-empowerment of our local government in planning decisions. 

These complexities and the evasive answers to public question time at council meetings ensure that the community is placated but restrained.
Over the coming days Red Hand will try and bring you all three issues in order to shead some light.  However, there were a few very interesting disclosures made at this week’s shire council meeting.

It was casually mentioned  that Woodside has not yet  provided the Shire with their Environmental Management Plan as was required in their Development Assessment Approval issued in Feb last year. 

This Plan was required to be lodged with Shire with advise from the Department of Conservation and Environment (DEC) prior to any works being undertaken.  Should this prove correct Woodside have been acting outside their DAP approval conditions?

The Shire president also mentioned glibly (this is the second time Red hand has heard this from the president) “that the third Compulsory Acquisition (NOITTs) has again been botched”. How this has occurred was not clarified by the shire president.

The Department of Planning made a statement on the 19th January, 2013 stating that the paid chairperson of the Kimberley Development Assessment Panel (DAP)  Mr Kotsoglo resigned last month before taking the job with the company Planning Solutions.  This department went on further to say that no conflict of interest had arisen because Mr Kotsoglo had resigned as committee chairman before taking the job with the company Planning Solutions.

However, Mr Kotsoglo is in fact the founding director and established Planning Solutions (WA) Pty Ltd in April 1998  This very same company  how has an application with the DAP to build the temporary FIFO village, 20 kms out of town. 

According to Development Assessment Panel Procedures Manual - DAP Members are required to report any suspected breach of the Code of Conduct, or any misconduct of a DAP member concerning DAP business. 

So when asked from the public gallery at the council meeting:

 “Has the Broome Shire made a complaint under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (which enables disclosures to be made within defined forms of misconduct within the State public sector, local government and public universities without fear of reprisal)_ directly to the Director General or to the office of the Ombudsman for Western Australia regarding Mr Kotsoglo’s alleged Conflict Of Interest?” 

The shire president replied and again stated on the local ABC radio the following morning that  Mr Kotsoglo’s conflict of interest was currently being investigated by Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). 

The DAP code of conduct is evidence that the DAP structure is not as transparent or accountable as has been claimed. Panels have a superior probability of producing incidents of conflict of interest at best and corruption at worst, precisely because lack of transparency and accountability of panel members. 

The permanent and known members will also make panels and panelists a target for people wishing to illegally influence the approvals process. 

The makeup of the Development Assessment Panels, with Local Government being a minority member shows a clear and deliberate attempt by the state to remove local decision making from the community and Local Government. Effectively locking both out of the development assessment processes and local planning issues.

Obviously an uneven number was required to avoid deadlocks. The issue is not the number of members on a panel, but it’s the ratio. 

The fact that these DAPs has Local Government as a minority is an outright attack on our democratic rights with community losing its representation. 

With the Minister appointing three members and two elected members creates an imbalance and diminishes Local Government decision making. Community interest and the primacy of local Town Planning Schemes are gradually being diminished under the pressure of those with a short term commercial interest and those looking after only the big end of town.

However, the most concerning issue is the fact that when the DAP does sit on the 4th April 2013 to assess Planning Solution’s application to build a FIFO temporary Workers village, none of the current Kimberley DAP members will be able to claim that they have no conflict of interest because every one of them has a working relationship with Mr Kotsoglo, Mr Planning Solutions himself. 

So who will represent the interests of community, in balancing development of the built environment with: the natural environment, community needs, cultural values and economic sustainability when the state government overrides local government responsibility and the wishes and values of the community?
How are we to improve our community’s quality of life and create and maintain our vibrant community? How are we to sustain the values we hold as a community, when we are being totally marginalized?


  1. Great post.
    The corruption is building up to record levels.
    I bet Brian Burke has raised an eyebrow!
    So it is being held back behind a dam which has held so far.
    But there is that much of it that soon a leak will be sprung.
    In the TV debate McGowan said Barnett's government was getting away with murder and gave the example of untold share trades being made by people serving in departments with conflicts of interest.
    Nothing was being done to reign this in.
    This will not be able to continue for another 4 years.

    Something has got to give.

  2. So many LNG plant proposals costs will skyrocket.

    LNG project proposals are growing faster than industry's capabilities to develop them

    Friday, 22 March 2013

    LNG project proposals are growing faster than industry's capabilities to develop them and will be generally at the high-end of the cost curve, with development bottlenecks and spiralling construction costs, a new report said.


    LNG17 conference in Houston set to host 5,000 delegates for industry landmark

    Friday, 22 March 2013

    Discoveries of massive offshore gas deposits in Mozambique and Tanzania, shale gas development in North America and China, and increased production capacity in Australia, will allow LNG to cement its position as a foundation fuel for the world.


    Nigeria LNG shipping firm to order six new carriers to upgrade fleet to 30 vessels

    Friday, 22 March 2013

    Nigeria LNG plans to order six new carriers from South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries, with part of the financing comes from France's BNP Paribas.


    LNG carrier fleet set to grow by over 80 vessels as global production speeds up

    Thursday, 21 March 2013

    The LNG shipping carrier fleet will number 430 with the addition of 81 during 2013-15 as production grows, while only 10 vessels could be considered as demolition candidates.


    NEW DELHI - An Indian panel headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given conditional approval to exploration activities at five oil and gas blocks while rejecting applications for three others, the federal government said Thursday.

    The statement didn't say when the panel will discuss the remaining 31 blocks and didn't give names of the companies to which the five cleared and three rejected blocks were allotted. It didn't give any estimated reserves of the blocks.


    JAKARTA - The Indonesian government Thursday awarded 14 new oil and gas blocks to investors as the former member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries struggles to boost crude oil production.

    Among the 14 blocks, Mr. Hermantoro said the government awarded:
    •the West Natuna Block to Premier Oil West Tuna Ltd., a unit of Premier Oil PLC,
    •the West and North East Bangkanai blocks to Salamander Energy PLC,
    •the West Sebuku Block to a consortium led by Inpex Corp. and Mubadala Petroleum Holdings (South East Asia) Ltd., and
    •the Merangin III Block to Cooper Energy Ltd.


  3. Russian Arctic Set to Become the New Frontier

    Eight nations have Arctic territory - Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.


    The West Siberian Basin reportedly holds around 133 billion barrels of total oil resources and the Arctic Alaska holds roughly 72 billion barrels of total oil resources, according to the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). Furthermore, around 41 percent of the Arctic oil resources and 70 percent of gas resources are in Russia.


    Considering the amount of resources Russia holds, the country has intensified the development of the vast hydrocarbon resources of its continental shelf. Gazprom and Russia are currently the only companies allowed to receive new licenses.


    The recent agreement between Rosneft and ExxonMobil Corp. will seek to develop three fields in the Arctic with recoverable hydrocarbon reserves estimated at 85 billion barrels in oil-equivalent terms for a total investment of around $500 billion. Rosneft would control a 67 percent stake in the joint venture, while ExxonMobil would control the remaining stake.


    As part of the deal, ExxonMobil will add seven more licenses to develop hydrocarbon resources on Russia's Arctic shelf to the three it acquired from Rosneft in 2011.

    "The agreements signed today take the unprecedented Rosneft and ExxonMobil partnership to a completely new level," said Rosneft President Igor Sechin in a April 2012 statement. "The acreage in the Russian Arctic subject to geological exploration and subsequent development increased nearly six-fold."


    With 85 percent of the discovered resources and 74 percent of the exploration potential as gas, a joint Wood Mackenzie –Fugro Roberston study in 2006 concluded that the Arctic is a gas province. Investment in natural gas is more capital intensive than in the case of oil. While crude oil is relatively east to transport by pipeline, tanker or even trucks, the physical nature of gas makes its transport significantly more expensive.

    Considering North America's shale boom, many in the industry are wondering if now's the time to explore the region.

    "Currently, we would describe the gas business as a very intense, gas-on-gas competition," Mellen said. "That's going to make things preferable for the lowest cost gas producers and those are unlikely to be in the Arctic. If conditions stay where they are now - able to produce at a fairly reasonable cost - Arctic gas in general is going to be challenged. These resources are going to be very difficult to extract, very costly, and complex," said Mellen.

    Russia's Energy Ministry took heed of this and outlined a new tax policy designed to attract $500 billion in investment in offshore Arctic energy projects over the next 30 years. The proposed regime would set tax terms for each project depending on their location in Russia's Arctic offshore zones, reported Reuters, where operational conditions vary widely.

    Royalties and profit tax would be set after an assessment of costs two years into each project. The government has also granted a series of tax holidays to encourage exploration in new regions such as Eastern Siberia


    Under the new legislation, operators of shelf projects will be granted tax relief from 5 to 15 years, including tax breaks on export duties as well as import duty and VAT for purchased equipment. The Ministry of Energy proposed to classify shelf projects in four levels from basic to Arctic so as to implement proper tax breaks. The same tax policy will be applied to oil projects, launched from 2016.

    However, at least 70 percent of offshore projects are to remain under Russian ownership.


  4. Reading the headlines today says so much about Australias mining culture.

    As soon as progress is seen,funding is cut and the answer is bring back the grog and lock more people up.

    After all how are they to steal these peoples lands if they are healthy and organised?

    Much easier if they are divided,sick and drunk then the miners can get away with their little token offerings and steal the country while getting away with their endless lies.

    I'm amazed at how much Barnett and Newman resemble Joh &co.


    Record numbers swell prisons

    The prison muster topped a record 5000 this week for the first time in the State's history, prompting concerns about acute overcrowding, "disgraceful" conditions for women and bed expansions which could lead to higher rates of reoffending.

    Former independent prisons watchdog Richard Harding has predicted that based on the increase over the past four years, the prison population will grow to 6400 by the next State election.

    The estimate does not take into account law and order election promises, such as tougher three-strikes burglary laws, which will also add to the prison muster.

    Writing for _The West Australian _today, Professor Harding says well-known problems causing the high rate of imprisonment are not being addressed amid a "policy drift" across the State Government.

    Professor Harding said the remand rate for unconvicted prisoners was too high, there had been a disproportionate increase in female prisoners, conditions in the only jail for women had become "disgraceful" and extra beds had been created in the wrong security settings.

    "The department's building priorities have not only distorted its ability to manage the population equitably, but almost certainly have cemented reoffending rates at a higher level," the former inspector of custodial services said.


    Experiment has improved our town, says Aurukun mayor

    THE mayor of Cape York's largest indigenous community has slammed the Newman government's decision to cut funding for Noel Pearson's welfare reform trial, saying it has dramatically improved the lives of children and families with its hardline approach over the past four years.

    Aurukun Mayor Dereck Walpo yesterday said he was stunned that the program, which links welfare payments to school attendance, child safety, tenancy and convictions, had been abandoned by the state after improvements in school attendance and a decline in community violence.

    The dusty town on the northwest of Cape York is the largest, and arguably the most dysfunctional, of the four communities taking part in the welfare reform trial, which began in 1988 and has received $100 million in commonwealth and state funding.

    Mr Walpo, elected last year as mayor on a ticket of supporting the trial and maintaining alcohol restrictions, said he particularly feared the possible loss of the Family Responsibility Commission, a central plank of the reform trial, which can withhold welfare payments from parents for reasons such as their children not attending school.

    . .
    "It has changed the community - a lot of kids who weren't going to school are now going to school and parents are happier, they're putting food on the table because of the FRC," he said.

    "You have to give the commissioners credit because in the beginning they were abused and threatened and now they are supported by the community - three of them were elected councillors at the last election. This trial has been Noel Pearson's dream, but it has been the FRC commissioners that have made it a reality and it has worked."

    Mr Walpo - who opposes the Newman government's review of alcohol restrictions - said he was not surprised that the evaluation report of the trial had produced mixed results, but it was always going to be "a long journey".


  5. Noel Pearson's Cape York trial 'changing lives'

    ABORIGINAL leader Noel Pearson has called for a federal takeover of indigenous affairs if the Queensland government fails to fund his radical Cape York Welfare Reform trial, amid evidence the program has cut crime rates, improved infrastructure and services and helped school attendance levels.

    An independent evaluation report into the trial, obtained by The Australian, says individuals and families are beginning to gain respite from daily living problems and people feel that life is "on the way up". It finds that, since the trial began in July 2008, the Cape York communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hopevale and Mossman Gorge in far north Queensland have experienced improved school attendance, care and protection of children, and community safety.

    It says people in the four communities are taking on greater personal responsibility and raising expectations, "particularly in areas such as sending kids to school, caring for children and families and their needs, and accessing supported self-help measures to deal with problems". After only three years of the trial, the report says there has been a "level of progress that has rarely been evident in previous reform programs in Queensland's remote indigenous communities".

    "What is most promising is that some of the progress relates to subtle but fundamental shifts in behaviour that, if sustained and built upon, can be expected to yield significant longer-term results," it says.


    Mr Pearson, director of the Cape York Institute, yesterday accused Queensland Indigenous Affairs Minister Glen Elmes of being a "cowboy" following the state's declaration on Tuesday that it could no longer justify its expenditure on the program.

    "I see this as a real crossroads," Mr Pearson said.

    "Given the reversal (on alcohol bans in communities) that has taken place in the Northern Territory on the reform agenda and given the reversal that is now taking place in Queensland, it raises a real question about whether states and territories should at all be involved in indigenous policy."

    Mr Pearson said Queensland had now taken its regressive policy direction further by backing out of welfare reform that was transforming Aboriginal people's lives.

    "The crisis in indigenous communities that (federal Indigenous Affairs Minister) Jenny Macklin understands, but that the Queensland government doesn't understand, has two nose-on-the-face features - alcohol and welfare dependency.

    "And on those two issues we now have the Queensland government's decision to reverse alcohol control and now to stop welfare reform. The position the Queensland government has adopted is one of really begging the question: If you're not going to invest in indigenous affairs and indigenous reform, then why are you in indigenous affairs at all?

    "There has been no focus by the Queensland government on indigenous reform. They have just allowed Glen Elmes to kind of make things up on the run. This cowboy has just basically come in to the scene and off-the-cuff decided that this program was going to stop. He does not himself have a credible alternative and he ignores the very explicit positive report that is contained in the evaluation."

    Mr Pearson accused Mr Elmes of making the decision without the advice of his department, which had been discussing future models of the trial.


  6. cont...

    The evaluation report - commissioned by all parties to the trial, including the two governments - concludes that in Aurukun and Mossman Gorge, there were "statistically significant improvements" in school attendance, reflected in falls in students' unexplained absences from school.

    Coen and Hope Vale have historically had higher rates of school attendance. This did not change during the trial at Coen, while Hope Vale recorded a very small increase in unexplained absences in 2011. There has been a significant increase in school attendance in Aurukun, where it has risen from 46.1 per cent in the first term of 2008 to 70.9 per cent in the first term of 2012.

    The trial communities' attendance rate was 4 percentage points lower than the attendance rate in comparable indigenous communities in 2008, but by 2011, it was six percentage points higher.

    By tracking individual students' attendance across years, analysis reveals that Year 2 students in the trial communities went from three percentage points below the attendance rates of their peers in comparable indigenous communities in 2008 to nine percentage points higher in 2011. "The change in Aurukun is greater than in any other indigenous community in Queensland, and there are indications that it is related to the actions of the FRC," the report says. "It is also clear that the improvements in Aurukun are not part of a general trend in indigenous communities in Queensland."

    The evaluation also found a large sustained fall in serious assaults resulting in injury in Aurukun in mid-2008, which reflects the impact of the closure of the Aurukun Tavern.

    The report concludes the "improvements across the trial communities did reverse a trend of rising offence rates prior to the trial, which was not the case in comparison communities".

    Another positive indicator is that the hospitalisation rate for assault has been lower in the communities than it was before the trial, although "it is not possible to definitively link this to the trial as a similar trend is evident in other indigenous communities in Queensland".

    The FRC has been shown to have played a crucial role in increasing parental responsibility and restoring social norms in communities. But the evaluation also highlights challenges with assisting harder-to-reach groups in the communities, including young people who are no longer engaged in education.

    The report shows that local indigenous authority is stronger as a result of the work of the FRC and this has been a key factor

    in bringing about positive behavioural change.

    As part of the evaluation, a Social Change Survey was undertaken among indigenous people in all trial communities. It found the FRC was respected and valued by the majority of community members and was seen as a driving force for change.

    Importantly, two-thirds of respondents felt that people should go to the FRC if they did not take their children to school and that the community would be a better place to live if everyone followed up on their talks with the FRC.

    When asked about changes in social and safety issues, 52 per cent of respondents felt that more people were trying to be better parents; 24 per cent felt more people were trying to give up grog, smoking or gambling; and 33 per cent felt there was less fighting between families.

    Ms Macklin told The Australian the independent evaluation proved the trial was making a difference to Aboriginal lives.

    "We know progress is being made and that there is still more to be done, particularly in the areas of increasing employment and home ownership opportunities," she said.

  7. The Port and south Hedland fiasco continues.

    Grylls no where to be seen.


    Pilbara council in crisis

    A major Pilbara council is in disarray after leaked emails surfaced on Facebook criticising its ability to deliver key infrastructure.

    Port Hedland chief executive Mal Osborne was to call a closed meeting yesterday to address a "growing . . . lack of trust in the administration".

    Four major projects, partly or fully funded by government and industry, have had problems in the past 18 months.

    A $13.7 million water park is yet to fully open, despite being scheduled for completion in December 2011.

    In a leaked email addressed to Mr Osborne, the Town of Port Hedland's longest serving councillor Arnold Carter estimated the cost of the four troubled projects to be more than $100 million and labelled the water park a fiasco.

    "How are we even going to become a Pilbara city if we do not have the capacity to supervise all our infrastructure community programs," he wrote. "If subcontractors are to blame, make them accountable and advise council accordingly."

    Another embarrassment was the $35 million Wanangkura Stadium, which had to be closed just days after the opening because of a lack of firefighting resources. The facility remained shut for almost two months. A report into the stadium debacle was due last year but is yet to be received by council, Cr Carter said.

    The reopening of the South Hedland Aquatic Centre after a $9 million refurbishment has been delayed because of failed water sample tests and the multimillion-dollar JD Hardie Youth Zone has roof problems.

    In an email to key staff and councillors this month, Port Hedland mayor Kelly Howlett said the situation at the South Hedland pool had "gone well beyond the joke".

    Mr Osborne said councillor concerns needed addressing urgently "including any criticism of how I, as CEO, might be handling these matters".

    The four projects in question had started or were finished before Mr Osborne's tenure began in October.

    Most project funding came from BHP Billiton and the State Government's Royalties for Regions program.

    A spokesman for Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the new Pilbara MP would not comment on internal council matters.

    Cr Howlett admitted last night the council had encountered "unforeseen obstacles", but said that was not uncommon for any project delivered by local government.
    The water park's "dry areas" and barbecues were now open to the public, she said.

  8. Shell Gets Clearance for Chinese Shale Project

    BEIJING - Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Tuesday it has received approval from the Chinese government for the company's first shale-gas production-sharing contract in China, a significant milestone as the country looks to tap potentially massive unconventional gas reserves and achieve ambitious shale-gas production targets.

    Li Lusha, a spokeswoman for Shell, said the Chinese government has approved the Anglo-Dutch company's plan to explore, develop and produce shale gas with partner China National Petroleum Corp. in the Fushun-Yongchuan block in the Sichuan Basin.


    Canada the New 'Land of Opportunity'

    Canada is being proactive in their recruiting efforts by searching the globe to fill much-needed positions in the oil and gas industry. The rapid expansion of oil sands production has made oil critical to the Canadian economy and with more than $100 billion invested in oil sands over the past 10 years, economic and political power has shifted westward to Alberta. It is estimated that production is connected to 75,000 jobs nationwide, and this number is expected to increase over the next 25 years.


    Turkey Suspends ENI Energy Deals over Cyprus Exploration

    Turkey has suspended energy deals with ENI over the Italian firm's involvement in exploring for oil and gas offshore Cyprus.

    According to a report from the Anatolia news agency Wednesday, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said: "We have decided not to work with ENI in Turkey, including suspending their ongoing projects."

    ENI is a partner in the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline project that is intended to deliver Russian and Kazakh oil to Turkey's Mediterranean coast. But this year has seen the firm sign license agreements that gave it and its partner Korea Gas Corporation the right to explore for hydrocarbons in blocks 2,3 and 9 within the Republic of Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in the western part of the Levant Basin.


    Australia: Arrow Welcomes Bowen Pipeline Approval

    Arrow has welcomed the approval of the Arrow Bowen Pipeline (ABP) by the State Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).

    The ABP is one of five large developments that make up Arrow’s planned coal seam gas (CSG) – liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project. The 580 km long buried pipeline would deliver CSG from Arrow’s proposed Bowen Gas Project gas fields to a proposed LNG plant at Gladstone.


    Gazprom, Sovcomflot Discuss LNG Marine Shipping (Russia)

    Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller and Sergey Frank, Director General of Sovcomflot met at the company’s headquarters in Moscow.

    “The parties discussed the cooperation in arranging marine shipping of liquefied natural gas (LNG), among other things, to Asia-Pacific markets,” Gazprom said in a statement.

    In January 2012 Gazprom and Sovcomflot reached the agreement on arranging a test shipment via the Northern Sea Route to deliver Gazprom’s hydrocarbons to Asia-Pacific markets, taking into account the growing urgency for energy resources supplies to the region.

    In August 2012 the SCF Amur tanker shipped for the first time Gazprom Neft’s petroleum products via a new high-latitude route within the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The tanker passed through the NSR routes in the record time of 2012 summer navigation – 7 days.


    Petronas boosted as Japan underwrites Japex stake in Canada LNG export project

    Wednesday, 27 March 2013

    Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (Jogmec), which is in charge of securing a stable national energy supply, is to finance the stake of Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (Japex) in the Pacific Northwest LNG project of Malaysia's Petronas.