Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Advance Australia - Lock the Gate! on Vimeo

Advance Australia - Lock the Gate! on Vimeo

The first trailer of two forthcoming films from the Lock the Gate Alliance (Australia), 'Undermining Australia: Coal vs Communities' and 'Fractured Country: an Unconventional Invasion', to be released nationally as part of our Week of Action.
These documentaries feature the personal stories of Australians whose lives have been changed forever by coal and gas mining. The films are directed by two Northern Rivers film makers.


  1. LOL - they're at it again!


    'Gas fight do-gooders failed us', says indigenous leader Wayne Bergmann

    Andrew Burrell From: The Australian September 19, 2013

    THE indigenous leader who brokered Woodside Petroleum's aborted $1.5 billion native title deal in the Kimberley says Aborigines are being condemned to live in poverty while the gas giant chases bigger returns for shareholders and high-profile environmentalists retreat to their "beautiful houses in Sydney".

    Wayne Bergmann, the former head of the Kimberley Land Council, said it was "incomprehensible" that Woodside had last week abandoned the 2011 native title deal, saying the benefits package would have been life-changing for Aboriginal people.

    He also attacked the environmentalists who campaigned against Woodside's plan to build a $40bn gas plant at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome, saying they had gone missing since Woodside walked away from the project.

    Telstra director Geoff Cousins and music stars Missy Higgins and John Butler were among those who opposed the use of James Price Point as the site for the Woodside project, arguing against any industrialisation of the remote Kimberley region in Western Australia.

    "These do-gooders, people like Geoff Cousins, are still sitting back in their beautiful houses in Sydney while our people continue to suffer the worst living conditions in Australia," he said.

    "There are people living in tents around Broome."But Mr Cousins, who lives in Sydney, last night hit back at Mr Bergmann, saying the indigenous leader should have ensured the 2011 agreement with Woodside had a "break clause" to ensure payments would flow to Aboriginal communities even if the company chose a different site for the project.

    He said Woodside had a moral obligation to fulfil its promises under the native title deal and he believed the WA government was responsible for ensuring Aboriginal people received the same health and education services that other citizens took for granted.

    The Australian revealed last week that Woodside had formally withdrawn from the deal to pay $1.5bn in benefits to Kimberley indigenous groups over 30 years in exchange for use of the land at James Price Point.

    The company said last month it would instead build the plant to process its Browse Basin gas reserves off the coast using radical floating LNG technology.

    The move means that only a fraction of the employment, health and education benefits promised to Kimberley Aborigines will be delivered.

    Former Woodside chief executive Don Voelte broke his silence on the issue last week, saying he believed the company should honour the compensation package pledged to indigenous communities. He said the intent of the package was always about sharing the rewards of the gas development rather than paying Aborigines for the land, which was no longer needed.

    Mr Bergmann, who once worked closely with Woodside, accused the company of "luring" Aborigines into joining its side in the bitter public stoush with environmentalists over the planned project at James Price Point.

    He said Woodside had a social responsibility to pay the benefits it had promised because of the way it had recruited Aborigines to the cause and because it still needed to use land in the Kimberley for its floating LNG project, possibly for an onshore supply base.

    In his first direct attack on Woodside, Mr Bergmann also questioned the leadership of the company's chairman, Michael Chaney, saying the high-profile businessman should declare to shareholders where morals and ethics sat in the Perth-based oil and gas company.

    "Woodside have turned their back on the community," he said. "It's a huge lost opportunity because this is where Chaney could have provided leadership.

    "A Woodside spokesman said the company's decision to use FLNG meant it was not obliged to be party to the native title agreement to establish an LNG precinct at James Price Point.


  2. 'Gas fight do-gooders failed us', says indigenous leader Wayne Bergmann


    "Woodside has made, or is in the process of making, $25.6 million in payments in accordance with agreement provisions," the spokesman said.

    "This includes funding for the Reading Recovery childhood literacy program, business development organisation and education, healthcare and cultural assistance through a trust established for the Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr people.

    "Developing the Browse resource using FLNG technology will make a contribution to the Australian and West Australian economies and provide opportunities in the local oil and gas industry.

    "Mr Bergmann said he believed Woodside's move to abandon the 2011 native title agreement would make it more difficult for Aborigines to enter similar deals with resource companies in future.

    "It's made Aboriginal people more cynical and less (trusting) of companies, governments and environmental groups," he said.

    "Woodside lured traditional owners into this big public stoush, which then got traditional owners, who used to have an alliance with environmental groups, to step away and take on a new position.

    "To learn now that Woodside and the joint venture partners have walked away completely, it's just incomprehensible.


  3. Credit loss puts spending under pressure

    The Barnett Government has lost WA's rolled-gold AAA credit rating for the first time since the WA Inc era, a development that will usher in widespread cuts to spending and programs, privatisation of State-owned assets and the delay or axing of major infrastructure projects.

    Ratings agency Standard & Poor's revealed yesterday that it would downgrade its assessment of the State's creditworthiness because it did not believe the Government had the "political will" to get its spending growth under control.

    The decision triggered a political firestorm, with the Opposition declaring the Government had "thrown away" WA's fiscal reputation because of its "reckless spending" and pursuit of "pet projects".

    Premier Colin Barnett was defiant, denying the downgrade was a reflection on his financial management and blaming WA's declining share of GST, rapid population growth and the Budget's increasing reliance on volatile mining revenues.

    "I think you can probably say maybe we tried to do too much too quickly," he said. "I'll accept that. But I challenge people to say what shouldn't we be doing.

    "Debt is high and rising. Why? Because this State is growing. We've invested in hospitals, in schools, in improving our capital city, road projects, regional development and the like - and I don't apologise for that.

    "This is a transformational decade for WA." Under attack from Labor in Parliament, Mr Barnett promised "significant expenditure cuts right across Government - every area".

    "Labor calls for fiscal responsibility. Well, get ready because there's going to be a fair dose of it.

    "The most immediate and direct way of reducing debt is to sell something, or sell several things. There will be a program of asset sales and that will be introduced very quickly."

    Pressed on what assets could be sold, Mr Barnett and Treasurer Troy Buswell nominated utilities and land but would not be drawn on specifics.

    WA's net debt was $6.8 billion when the Barnett Government came to power in September 2008.

    It was $18.5 billion at June 30 and is projected to grow to $21.9 billion by the end of this financial year and $28.4 billion by June 2017, with much of the Government's ambitious infrastructure program still to be paid far beyond then.

    In announcing its decision to downgrade WA to AA+, S&P said the Government appeared to "lack the political will" to stick to its fiscal plan in a clear reference to a string of policy reversals announced since Mr Buswell's Budget on August 8.

    They include plans to halve the household solar panel subsidy, a dilution of plans to charge school fees for children of 457 visa holders and another top-up for the education budget.

    "The downgrade reflects our view that while the fiscal action plan announced in WA's Budget improves the State's path, in our view there is likely to be slippage, reflecting our view of limited political will, as evidenced by the early revision of some Budget revenue and expenditure measures," S&P said.

    Treasury projects a small operating deficit for 2014-15 and S&P analyst Claire Curtin warned that the AA+ rating could be knocked lower unless the Government got the Budget back into the black. "The rating could be pressured if WA's consolidated cash operating balance looked likely to fall into deficit without a convincing plan to return to surplus," she said.

    _The West Australian _believes that Moody's and Fitch Ratings will reconsider their positions on WA's debt over the rest of the year.
    Moody's put its AAA rating of WA on negative watch just before Christmas, while Fitch has said there were serious problems with the WA Budget position.