Thursday, March 21, 2013

The game continues but our resolve remains strong

The Wilderness Society legal case against EPA, with co-applicant Richard Hunter, is slowly progressing.  Almost all affidavits etc have been filed and served.  The next 'directions hearing' is likely in Supreme Court on 8th April (was supposed to be tomorrow but that's been adjourned).  Issue of Woodside's involvement not yet resolved - will be determined by Chief Justice. Pro bono barrister Dr Hannes Schoombee has done a mountain of work on this case.
Collective lobbying of Burke has been intense and involves calls on him to reject the WA 'strategic assessment', prevent Woodside's imminent dune-drilling operation, and hold an inquiry under the EPBC Act on multiple documented grounds including:

  1. Recent listing of Monsoon Vine Thicket (MVT) as 'endangered' under EPBC Act;
  2. Previous EPA assessments (1990 and 1991) recommending AGAINST development in this same area due, explicitly, to monsoon vine thickets, dinosaur fossils and Indigenous heritage values;
  3. EPA's seriously misleading statements in its 2008 Section 16(e) advice on potential gas hub sites in the Kimberley, which claimed there is no MVT at JPP (there is!); no previous conservation reserve proposals for the area (there have been several!), and failing to mention dinosaur tracks at all;
  4. Failure to address Indigenous heritage issues;
  5. Failure to address social impacts;
  6. The fact there has been NO ASSESSMENT of plans to dump all the gas hub's dredge spoil in Commonwealth waters off JPP - right where DSD and Barnett say is the main Humpback whale migration area.  The EPA said it had not assessed this because it is "outside our jurisdiction". This is key as Burke has to specifically approve any permit application to dump anything in Commonwealth waters;
  7. Greenhouse gas emissions changes - Minister Marmion's dropping of EPA's proposed GHG abatement conditions - due to alleged 'duplication' of Cwth abatement measures;
  8. New whale information from community survey showing far more whales in waters close to JPP than DSD and Woodside have reported/admitted;
  9. National Heritage-listed dinosaur tracksites - latest research showing JPP even richer in tracksites than previously recognised.
Despite having all this evidence laid before him, in correspondence and in person, it is unclear still when he will make his decision and what it may be - anything from straight up "Yes", to calling for much more and better info, to flat out "No".

We are now running up against timing of two other key factors: The joint venture partner's 'Final Investment Decision' due end June, and the Federal election campaign.


  1. There is a clear and present danger to all this and that is the Labour party turmoil in Canberra.

    Burke is a Gillard supporter,so he will miss out on the round of sackings and resignations now under way.A situation which could likely see Ferguson resign or dumped from the front bench.

    BUT.The danger now is for a no confidence motion against the government to succeed which would see the Gillard government fall and a sure landslide victory to Abbott.

    Then the doubt would vanish,the result will be a sure fire NO to your question and an ABBOTT/Barnett push to get this project started.

    We know the rest.

    Dams,food bowl,wild rivers etc.

  2. Monsson Vine Thicket clearing is a crime.

    Can the "Walmadan Warriors" please account for how much MVT they have cleared for their "camp" south of JPP.

    My estimate based on aerial imagery taken in Dec 2012 is around 7,300m2.

    That is 0.7ha....

    Shame Shame Shame... I thought you were there to protect the MVT.

    I won't even go into the human output and dunny paper up there.

    Take a good look in your own backyard.

  3. I am quite disappointed in the reaction of many. Walmadan,the songline is of VITAL IMPORTANCE FOR ABORIGINAL PEOPLES. The significance of which seems to be quite intentionaly ignored. The current moves by government, resources corporations,contractors and their associates and others can only be viewed as CULTURAL GENOCIDE,.The genocidal activities of the government during the 1800s to dispossess, murder and destroy aboriginal peoples and their self esteem is loudly mirrored today. The WA premier, being a christian can it claim ignorance that he is leading a brutal charge to destroy aboriginal mythology so as to reduce ,conquer and then plunder their country.