Friday, May 16, 2014

Browse gas fields: Rocky outcrops could change WA's share of offshore fields - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Browse gas fields: Rocky outcrops could change WA's share of offshore fields - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation"
The discovery of three rocks off the Kimberley coast means Western Australia's share of Woodside's Browse gas field could jump from 5 to 65 per cent.
The rocky outcrops discovered by Geoscience Australia are part of the North Scott Reef and are technically islands, which will prompt a redrawing of Western Australia's maritime boundaries.
The discovery, which could result in more royalties and a greater say in how the gas is processed, has been welcomed by the State Government.
Mines Minister Bill Marmion said the find could give the state a greater say in several gas fields now deemed to be in Commonwealth waters.
"It's a very exciting development and potentially a great windfall for the state," he said.
"We believe it's significant and we are now working closely with the Federal Government to determine WA's share of the Browse field and it's exact implications.
"The fact that all of a sudden more of the field is in Western Australia's waters, all that gas from West Australian-owned land comes to Western Australia."

Three rocky outcrops, each no bigger than a kitchen table, have become the most lucrative pieces of real estate in WA's history. Their chance discovery will result in the State earning billions of dollars extra in gas royalties from the Browse offshore petroleum project. The tiny outcrops are part of the North Scott Reef, more than 300km north-west of Cape Leveque, and were found during a recent satellite sweep by Geoscience Australia.Though no more than 1m above sea level and no more than 3m long, they are regarded as "islands" under the law of the sea because they are naturally formed and "above ordinary high water". It means they belong to WA, prompting a radical redrawing of maritime boundaries.The previously unseen rocky outcrops are directly above the Torosa gas field. The Federal Government has previously argued that WA owns as little as 5 per cent of the Browse resource but now grudgingly acknowledges the State may own up to 65.5 per cent of Torosa, which is more than half of Browse. The two other gas fields that make up Browse, Calliance and Brecknock, are not affected.


  1. $15bn Browse windfall in WA pipeline

    The Australian |
    May 17, 2014

    WESTERN Australia is poised for one of the biggest financial windfalls in its history amid estimates that a boundary change over the nation’s biggest gasfield could deliver the state government up to $15 billion in royalties in coming decades.

    The state’s share of the Woodside Petroleum-operated Browse gas fields is expected to rise from 5 per cent to as much 50 per cent as a result of the new boundaries over two largely unknown reefs which lie about 300km off the Kimberley coast.

    The shock move — which is yet to be ratified — would hit commonwealth revenues and radically reduce the federal government’s control over the Browse leases.

    The change came about after Geoscience Australia conducted a review of Australia’s “most seaward features” that identified several new rocky outcrops on the North Scott and Seringapatam reefs, which sit above the massive Browse gas fields.

    The outcrops, which are no more than 1m above sea level, are considered to be “islands” and therefore belong to Western Australia rather than the commonwealth.

    The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator wrote to the West Australian government and Woodside this week to inform them the maritime boundaries will be redrawn.

    Analysts say the 10 per cent royalty that will be levied by Western Australia on gas produced from Browse’s state leases could now be worth up to $300m a year once the project hits full capacity, or a staggering $15bn over the 50-year life of the project.

    In February, Woodside told the federal Environment Department it planned to produce liquefied natural gas at a rate of 12 million tonnes a year from Browse for at least 50 years.

    The company is expected to make a final investment decision on the floating liquefied natural gas project next year and begin producing gas by 2020.

    The Browse development will feature three floating LNG vessels, which will each be 488m long and 74m wide.

    Perth resources analyst Peter Strachan said based on current LNG prices WA would receive around $35 per tonne in petroleum royalties from Browse.

    Depending on WA’s final share of the project and the amount of gas produced, the state could be in line for up to $300m a year.

    Mr Strachan said the West Australian government would begin earning royalties from Browse “on day one”, whereas the commonwealth would have to wait several years before it started receiving petroleum resource rent tax.

    The new boundaries will give greater leverage to Premier Colin Barnett, who is pushing for Woodside to build a supply base in WA.

    But Mr Barnett is not expected to insist Woodside return to its original plan to build an onshore gas plant at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome.

    WA Labor MP Fran Logan this week attacked his federal colleague Gary Gray, a former federal resources minister, for approving Woodside’s application to develop Browse using FLNG technology rather than at James Price Point.

    Mr Logan said Mr Gary’s action should be investigated.

    Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan yesterday described Mr Logan’s attack on Mr Gray as a “disgrace”.

    Mr Gray has defended his approval and said he followed due process.

  2. Metagasco shares plunge 40pc over fiasco

    The Australian |
    May 17, 2014

    SHARES in coal-seam gas company Metgasco fell more than 40 per cent yesterday after it said it would walk away from its Rosella drilling operation in the face of community opposition.

    The group said it was working to cancel drilling rig and other service contracts surrounding the Rosella well, near Lismore in northern NSW, after police said they did not have the resources to handle protesters.

    Metgasco was placed in a trading halt on Thursday after the NSW government suspended its Rosella PEL 16 drilling licence, over the company’s failure to establish a social contract with locals, and also referred to the state corruption commissioner’s concerns over “shareholdings and interests” in the company.

    In a statement, Metgasco said it had submitted an “extensive submission” to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas demonstrating it had “fully complied” with its obligations to conduct appropriate community consultation.

    The company said the Office of Coal Seam Gas would advise on Monday on the outcome of the submission, but Metgasco would pull out of the project because of protest action.

    “Metgasco has learnt that the resources NSW Police consider to be necessary to provide a safe and lawful environment for drilling to proceed have been reallocated,” the company said.

    Metgasco shares closed at 4.93c yesterday, down 44 per cent on the 8.8c they were fetching at the time of the suspension.

    The NSW government has not commented on the nature of the concerns it has flagged with the Independent Commission Against Corruption, but it is speculated to involve a possible connection to disgraced Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.

    The biggest shareholder in Metgasco is Queensland power company ERM Power, which is chaired by Tony Bellas.

    Until March last year Mr Bellas was a director of Australian Water Queensland, the Queensland branch of Australia Water Holdings.

    AWH has been the subject of hearings at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    Mr Bellas is one of three shareholders in a company called Gasfield Water and Waste Services, with Dennis Jabour, Mr Obeid’s nephew, holding a 60 per cent stake.

    PEL 16 was granted in 1996 and transferred to Metgasco in 1999 when Mr Obeid was NSW resources minister.

    Metgasco said ERM Power was a passive investor in the company and had no board representation. “In addition the staff and board of Metgasco have no personal or any other association with Mr Obeid or Mr Jabour,” the company said. It said Metgasco was not aware of any impropriety involving the granting or renewal of PEL 16.

    In a statement, ERM Power said it had no connection with Mr Obeid or his family and had never had any such connection.

  3. Santos to overcome opposition to projects

    Kim Christian

    May 16, 2014

    Energy giant Santos believes it can overcome community opposition to its controversial coal seam gas (CSG) projects, saying more development is needed, not less.

    But the gas producer is in no doubt about the challenges ahead as some of its CSG exploration and development projects continue to raise the ire of environmental and landholder groups.

    The Adelaide-based company's chairman Ken Borda told shareholders that CSG was playing a growing role in the economy and more exploration and development of gas resources was needed, not less.

    "If CSG is to play a role in supporting an internationally competitive manufacturing sector, its development must be progressed as a priority," Mr Borda told the company's annual general meeting in Adelaide on Friday.

    However, he said the company needed to successfully engage with communities located near its operations.

    "We believe that we can overcome these challenges and continue to be successful in both operating the assets we manage today, as well as in establishing new projects," he said.

    Mr Borda also opposed a resolution by 161 shareholders that Santos abandon its $1 billion investment in gas resources in and around Narrabri in New South Wales.

    Shareholders overwhelmingly voted against the resolution, despite the Wilderness Society and other groups taking out newspaper advertisements urging them to "ditch the Narrabri project".

    In February the NSW Environment Protection Authority issued a $1500 fine to Santos after an aquifer was contaminated with uranium at the company's Narrabri gas field operations in the Pilliga forest area.

    Still, Mr Borda said over time, local communities would come to see that agriculture, communities and gas operations could co-exist successfully.

    Chief executive David Knox said gas from coal seams was "unquestionably part of our way of life," as 30 per cent of east coast gas supply is now met by CSG gas.

    He said a benchmark water catchment study showed the effect of water the company extracts at the Narrabri project was very small.

  4. Where the hell are they going with this ?

    So much for the budget emergency !


    Jump jets on Defence radar

    Nick Butterly Canberra The West Australian

    May 17, 2014

    Australia could buy "jump-jet" Joint Strike Fighters to base aboard new landing ships, giving the nation its first aircraft carrier since the early 1980s.

    Defence Minister David Johnston told The Weekend West _the Government was considering buying the "B" model of the F-35 - a specialised variant of the stealth jet being built to operate from aircraft carriers.

    Last month, Australia committed to buying 72 of the conventional model F-35s from US aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin at a cost of almost $20 billion.

    But the Government has left the door open to buying more F-35s and the minister says the F-35B will be considered.

    "Now that aircraft is more expensive, does not have the range but it's an option that has been considered from day one," Senator Johnston said.

    The F-35B has a shortened take-off distance and can land vertically, just like the legendary Harrier jump jet.

    The British Navy and the US Marines are buying the F-35B to station aboard aircraft carriers.

    Australia is soon to bring into service two large ships called landing helicopter docks. Though they resemble small aircraft carriers, the Government has maintained until now they would be used only to deploy helicopters and troops.

    Senator Johnston said stationing the F-35 aboard an LHD would be costly and technically challenging, but it could be done.

    "The deck strength is there for such an aircraft," he said.

    The Hawke government mothballed Australia's last aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne, in 1982.

    Commissioning an aircraft carrier is considered a significant strategic statement of military might by a country.

    China recently launched its first aircraft carrier. The sea trials are being watched closely.

    The F-35B has less range than the conventional F-35 owing to the complex systems of jets used to allow it to land vertically.

    The B variant has been the most trouble-plagued of the three F-35 models. Testing was stalled this year after cracks were discovered in the aircrafts' bulkheads.

    The F-35 will replace Australia's fleet of F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet aircraft, due to be withdrawn in 2022.

    1. APRIL 9 2014

      Australia in talks to buy Japanese submarines to upgrade fleet



    Karoon Gas intersects gas at Browse Basin well
    Friday, May 16, 2014 by Proactive Investors

    KAROON GAS has intersected a 12 metre net gas reservoir at its Poseidon North-1 well in the Browse Basin off Western Australia.

    However, pressure data is inconclusive and sample analysis remains outstanding which is required to confirm the presence of mobile gas.

    The well is being plugged and abandoned with no further evaluation planned.

    Operator ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) will now move to drill Pharos-1 well, the six and final well in the Phase 2 exploration drilling program.

    Pharos‐1 will be located approximately 9 kilometres north east of Proteus‐1 and will be a further test of the Proteus‐Crown trend.

    It targets an extension of the discovery made at Proteus‐1 which established excellent reservoir quality and condensate bearing gas in the Montara formation.

    Karoon has a 40% interest in WA-315-P.


    Karoon Gas's (ASX: KAR) core focus and strategy is to identify, explore and develop acreage that is highly prospective for oil and gas . Karoon currently has five focus areas, the Browse Basin (Western Australia), Bonaparte Basin (Northern Territory), Tumbes Basin (Peru), Marañón Basin (Peru) and the Santos Basin

  6. Victoria to get two new coal plants

    Two new coal plants will be built in Victoria as the state and federal governments put millions of dollars into developing new uses for the resource.

    A $50 million joint investment by the Victorian and federal governments will go towards two advanced coal projects which will produce products such as oil and fertiliser from the state's brown coal reserves.

    Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said the venture would help the state develop further uses for coal while boosting the Latrobe Valley's economy.

    "This joint investment will enable the development of new smarter, cleaner and sustainable uses for this important resource," Mr Ryan said on Friday.

    Energy and Resources Minister Russell Northe said the projects had the potential to bring significant employment and investment to the Latrobe Valley.

    Under the State-Commonwealth Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program, Coal Energy Australia will receive a $30 million grant towards its $143 million demonstration plant producing fertiliser, oil and coal used in steelmaking.

    Ignite Energy Resources will get $20 million for its $84.3 million pre-commercial plant making upgraded coal products for local or export markets along with synthetic oil.

    Friends of the Earth spokesperson Shaun Murray said it was perverse that taxpayer money was being spent on propping up greenhouse gas-intensive industries.

    "The international scientific community is urging rich countries like Australia to lead the way with deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Murray said.

    "It is perverse we would be throwing public money into attempting to develop new ways to use brown coal."

  7. Indigenous protesters demand water rights

    ABC Rural By Carmen Brown and Caddie Brain

    Protesters from the Northern Land Council (NLC) have stormed a Northern Territory water forum on in Katherine today.

    Carrying placards and banners, the protesters demanded that the NT Government reinstate water allocations to Aboriginal traditional owners.

    The NT Government decided to cancel the water allocations known as 'Strategic Indigenous Reserves' last year.

    The reserves had guaranteed that a percentage of publically-owned water would be set aside for future commercial use by Indigenous people.

    NLC chief executive Joe Morrison says the NT Government is refusing to consult traditional owners over the issue.

    He's now pressuring the Government to hold an inquiry into the allocation of commercial water licences.

    Minister for Primary Industry Willem Westra van Holthe, who was attending the water forum, responded to protesters.

    "I want to see Aboriginal people get up and develop their land as much as anybody else," he said.

    "You have the same rights to water now as any other Territorian."


    Which most likely is none - unless you're a miner or fracker.

  8. Barnett is back where he started and little has changed - except if anything it will now be even more difficult to proceed at JPP - with a hub or supply base.


    EPA: Delegates Assess Browse LNG Proposal

    Posted on May 16th, 2014

    Chairman Gerard Early PSM, Tom Hatton and newly appointed Environmental Protection Authority member Glen McLeod are assessing the Minister for State Development’s strategic proposal for the establishment of a multi-user gas hub precinct to enable the processing of up to 50 million tonnes of LNG per year from the Browse Basin near James Price Point, 60 kilometres north of Broome.

    Early said the delegates would undertake the assessment in an impartial and independent manner.

    He said the delegates would review the environmental review report prepared by the proponent, additional available scientific information as well as public submissions received to date.

    The delegates will not be considering the EPA’s previous assessment report or any of the decisions arising from processes which followed, including the appeal committee’s report.

    “The delegates and I are assessing this proposal with fresh eyes. We are meeting regularly and will carefully review all the public submissions as well as undertake our own examination of the environmental issues,” Early said.

    “Together, we will determine the sufficiency of the information currently available and then if necessary what further information is required for our assessment.”

    Once the delegates have completed their assessment, they will report to the Minister for Environment with a recommendation as to whether the future proposals identified in the strategic proposal should proceed, and, if so, under what conditions.

    The Delegates’ report to the Minister for Environment will be open for a two-week public appeal period. Appeals will be administered by the Appeals Convenor. The Minister for Environment will consult with other decision-making authorities before making the final decision.

    Press Release, May 16, 2014

  9. Inquiry Questions Lawfulness of Browse FLNG Development

    by Ben Creagh

    Rigzone Contributor
    Friday, May 16, 2014

    The Australian oil and gas industry has called on governments and the sector to work collaboratively and ensure that floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) technology has a future in the country.

    A Western Australian parliamentary inquiry this week called for an investigation into the legality of a federal government decision to allow Woodside Petroleum Ltd. to develop the Browse project off the state’s north-west coast using the technology.

    A WA Economics and Industry Standing Committee inquiry report into the impact of FLNG on the state economy stated that the former federal government “unilaterally decided to approve” a variation to the Browse retention leases, “opening the way for Woodside to announce FLNG as its preferred development option.”

    The report recommended that the WA Government seek legal advice regarding the lawfulness of the “unprecedented decision” relating to the Browse retention leases.

    In response to the report, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) urged the federal and state governments to seize the FLNG opportunity, saying the technology had the potential to underpin WA’s development as a major global energy producer.

    The Browse LNG partners, led by Woodside, disappointed the state government last year by opting to pursue a FLNG vessel to lower project development costs over initial plans to construct an onshore plant.

    According to APPEA’s Chief Operating Officer Western Region Stedman Ellis, “The high cost of building major gas projects in Australia is one of our industry’s biggest challenges – FLNG provides an attractive development option for monetizing offshore resources.

    “We simply cannot afford to reject floating technology, because in some cases it may be the only viable means of developing some of our offshore gas.

    “The Committee’s report acknowledges this reality and effectively challenges the State and Commonwealth governments and the oil and gas industry to work collaboratively to ensure that FLNG delivers maximum benefits to the state and the nation.”

    Ellis added that just one FLNG vessel had the potential to deliver up to 1,000 highly-skilled, well-paid jobs and around $11.2 billion (AUD $12 billion) in tax revenue during its 25-year operating life.

    It is estimated that the Browse project could generate about $42.1 billion in economic activity and up to $187.1 million every year in maintenance and supply contracts for local companies.

  10. The very same things that conspired against the common user hub at JPP are still out there and even more advanced than before with other developments like Iran now in the mix.

    FLNG is now being considered for projects all around the world with many well underway.


    Inpex is upbeat on Abadi FLNG and the extension of natural gas chain to Singapore

    Tuesday, 13 May 2014

    Inpex Corp. of Japan said its Abadi Floating LNG venture in the Arafura Sea of Indonesia being developed with Royal Dutch Shell has made significant progress, while its Ichthys LNG project centred on an onshore plant near Darwin in Australia had a 44 percent progress rate.


    Magnolia LNG project advance

    May 15 (LNGJ) - Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. advises that the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has formally accepted the Magnolia LNG project's filing application for permits to build the facility along the Calcasieu River, near Lake Charles, Louisiana. Managing Director, Maurice Brand, said: "Magnolia LNG anticipates receiving all approvals during 2015 and such approvals will be a key requirement for financial close. Construction will commence shortly thereafter with first LNG exports planned for the second half of 2018."


    Panama Canal expansion and Arctic LNG may transform main LNG carrier routes

    With the inaugural transit of an LNG carrier across the Arctic Northern Sea Route (NSR) in late 2012 and the upcoming expansion of the Panama Canal opening in 2015, new LNG shipping routes are emerging.


    Canadian LNG province expects FID on first plant in 2014 from Petronas or Shell

    Wednesday, 14 May 2014

    British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong said that either the Pacific Northwest LNG project in the province, led by Malaysian energy company Petronas, or the LNG Canada venture of Royal Dutch Shell would to be the first to make a final investment decision by year-end on building a Canadian LNG export plant.


    Japan's date for key LNG event

    May 13 (LNGJ) - The Japanese government's LNG Producer-Consumer Conference 2014 will be held on November 6, 2014 in Tokyo. "It will build on last year's successful Conference in September, which had over 1,000 participants from 50 countries. The Conference aims to promote active discussions on securing a stable, transparent and flexible global LNG market," said the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry which is hosting the event at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. The conference will cover such issues as the LNG market in the context of US LNG, frontier areas such as East Africa and Floating LNG projects.


    THIS WEEK: US technology to help China produce more LNG than America for now

    Tuesday, 13 May 2014


    Chart Industries is leading the way with US peer Black & Veatch in small-scale LNG development in China and the country is multiplying its liquefaction ventures so fast that its output is now that of a major producer, even before it has exploited its significant shale-gas reserves (See map).

  11. Anadarko: Mozambique LNG Project Moves Forward

    Posted on May 7th, 2014

    Anadarko has increased the total estimated recoverable resources in its Mozambique Offshore Area 1 to 50 to 70-plus trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

    “Successful appraisal drilling activities in the Orca field increased the total estimated recoverable resources in Anadarko’s Offshore Area 1 to a range of 50 to 70-plus trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” the company said in a statement.

    Anadarko also said that it continues to advance the Mozambique LNG project by adding incremental non-binding LNG off-take agreements.


    Inpex to Explore in WA-502-P (Australia)

    Posted on May 16th, 2014

    Inpex said that its subsidiary, Inpex Browse E&P Pty Ltd, has been granted Release Area WA-502-P as an exploration permit following the 2013 Australian Offshore Petroleum Acreage Release.

    Inpex Browse will hold a 40% participating interest in the Block while Santos will hold a 60% participating interest as an operator.

    The Block will constitute INPEX’s 10th exploration permit close to the Ichthys gas-condensate field where INPEX group companies conduct its development as an operator.

    The Block is approximately 475km north-northeast of Broome, off the coast of the state of Western Australia, and covers an area of 581km2 with a water depth of approximately 400m to 500m.

    Large gas reserves have been discovered southeast of the Block in the Ichthys gas-condensate field, the Prelude and the Concerto gas fields.

    Participation in the development of the Block will enhance INPEX’s exploration and development activities in Asia-Oceania as one of its core business areas. Focusing on exploration activities close to the Ichthys gas-condensate field is a core goal to maximise the potential of INPEX’s most important ongoing global project, the Ichthys LNG Project.


    Picture of the Day: Tanker at PNG LNG Terminal

    Posted on May 16th, 2014

    Production of LNG at the Papua New Guinea LNG plant commenced in April this year. The first LNG tanker is currently loading at the plant and will depart for Japan in the next few days.

    The USD 19 billion PNG LNG project includes gas production and processing facilities in the Southern Highlands, Hela, Western, Gulf and Central Provinces of Papua New Guinea.

    There are over 700 kilometres of pipelines connecting the facilities, which includes a gas conditioning plant in Hides and liquefaction and storage facilities with capacity of 6.9 million tonnes per year.

    ExxonMobil is the operator of the LNG project and other co-venturers are Oil Search, National Petroleum Company of PNG, Santos, JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation, Mineral Resources Development Company (representing landowners) and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.

  12. AND..............Where would it be easier to unload a tanker of LNG from Browse for the WA domestic market ?

    The obvious choice for many reasons would be Karratha.

    Very sheltered and these days import LNG plants can be tailor made for any need.

    eg.: a small floating one perhaps ?

    Piping it to JPP is just bullshit quite frankly.


    Pretty much just like before any way you cut it JPP will never make sense it's just a stubborn fixation of Barnett's ego.


    So we are a lot wiser this time around and that definitely includes Woodside and their pals.

    Has the deal already been done ?

    The industrialisation of Roebuck Bay ?

    Or at least the Port up grade ?

    And all we have is another of these "protect the Premier politically" turnouts ?

  13. From Kimberley Page

    Saturday, May 17th, 2014

    Humpback whales interbreed

    New research shows humpback whale populations are meeting each other and interbreeding in Antarctic waters.

    Photo – Jenita Enevoldsen

    Some of the humpback whales we see off the Kimberley coast are mixing with those that travel up the east coast during the summer feeding season.

    Some “Western” humpbacks even travel with their new in-laws or friends to their winter calving waters.

    Science Network [read this story] - See more at:

  14. Low-income couples with children to bear brunt of Abbott Government's budget: study

    Low-income couples with children and single parents will bear the brunt of the Abbott Government's first budget, losing up to 15 per cent of their disposable income when the measures hit in full, according to independent modelling.


    This budget could devastate Indigenous Australians

    From cuts to youth welfare to the new Medicare co-payment, the budget will have a profound impact on Indigenous Australians. Mick Gooda asks, will the Federal Government speak to Aboriginal leaders before proceeding?


    Aussies steamrolled by Abbott and mining giants

    The rocky terrain between outright lie and fundamental honesty has been widely traversed since last Tuesday's federal Budget.

    But there was one promise, one commitment to which Prime Minister Tony Abbott stayed true to his word, for which he has received precious little praise or even acknowledgement, even from those who stand to benefit the most.

    That was his solemn promise before the election to look after the interests of miners.

    Along with the raft of new co-payments, levies and excises - not to be confused with tax - to be levelled against Australian citizens, the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, reaffirmed an election commitment to rid the nation of the Mineral Resources Rent Tax.

    For four years, it has been portrayed as a destructive hindrance to Australia's economic prosperity, even though few miners actually paid anything at all. It was one of the central planks in the Coalition's election campaign. Now in government, the Prime Minister has kept his word.

    Celebration of that aside, Australia now has to come to grips with a stark choice: If you believe it is a great idea for the bulk of the riches of the nation's bountiful resources to be permanently doled out to foreign investors, then accept that you will pay higher taxes and receive less in return forever more.

    Accept that, given we have an ageing population, your descendents will be lumbered with the cost of looking after you, long after the minerals have been dug up and shipped off to fuel the economic expansion of a foreign power.

    And stop complaining about having to work longer or paying more for health care on a reduced pension.

    Last week's harsh Budget was just the beginning. Having committed itself to fixing the structural imbalances in our fiscal policy - insufficient revenue to cover expenditure - the next few years will see even tighter budgets in the absence of any new revenue stream.

    What we are witnessing is the start of the greatest transfer of wealth this nation will ever see - from Australian citizens to foreign investors. As it gathers pace, the rights of landholders and farmers will be trampled upon as a weak political class succumbs to the lobbying of a hugely powerful global industry accustomed to getting its way.

    Company directors have a legal obligation to look after the interests of shareholders. Given the stakes are so high, the amount of wealth so colossal, it is only to be expected they will marshal the full weight of the power and influence at their disposal to ensure their interests are not diminished.

    Governments, on the other hand, are obliged to protect the interests of their citizens or to act in accordance with their citizens' wishes. Given this Government went to an election with the stated aim of abolishing the mining tax, it could never be accused of subterfuge or breaking a promise.

    But that doesn't excuse it or make it good policy. It is poor economics.


    GST on food will hit remote community stores very hard indeed.

    We pay a few cents for a spud - they pay a few dollars.


  15. Premier warns over Browse WA gas supply

    Premier Colin Barnett warned the Woodside Petroleum-led Browse consortium yesterday that he would use his increased bargaining power to force them to supply WA with domestic gas as well as help fund a supply base at James Price Point.

    However, the Premier stopped short of suggesting he would use his new bargaining muscle to try to force the consortium to ditch their plans for a floating gas processing development in favour of a return to an onshore operation, which would create a short-term construction boom and thousands of jobs.

    The State Government gained major bargaining muscle this week when it was revealed that the Commonwealth-State boundaries covering the Torosa gas field off the Kimberley had been redrawn.

    Torosa is one of three gas fields that make up the Browse project, which is to be developed as a floating liquefied natural gas operation.

    The Federal Government had previously argued that WA owned as little as 5 per cent of the Browse resources, principally because most of Torosa was in Commonwealth waters.

    But the boundary revision has ceded more of Torosa to State waters and Canberra now accepts WA may own up to 65.5 per cent of Torosa.

    Mr Barnett said yesterday that WA had now become an equal or "the major player" in terms of ownership of the gas and would therefore negotiate to ensure there were benefits for the State, including domestic gas coming onshore and the development of a jobs-creating supply base.

    While Mr Barnett acknowledged that gas from the Browse project may not be processed onshore, he pledged gas from other projects in the Browse Basin would eventually be processed at James Price Point, north of Broome.

    Conservation group Environs Kimberley said "no company in their right mind" would attempt to build at James Price Point given the fierce opposition to it.

  16. More sea turtles will be born female as climate warms, study shows

    Once the sands in which eggs incubate grow too hot, population could become entirely female – risking the reptile's extinction

    Hotter sands triggered by a warming climate could cause greater numbers of sea turtles to be born female, increasing the reptiles’ numbers in the short term, research shows.

    But the study, published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, warns that once the sands in which sea turtle eggs incubate grow too warm, the population could become entirely female, risking the animal’s extinction.

    “Sea turtles are unusual in that the gender of the offspring is not driven by sex chromosomes, as in humans,” said Professor Graeme Hays, one of the lead authors of the study.

    Instead, a sea turtle’s sex is determined by the temperature of the sand in which the female turtle buries her eggs.

    “The logic is that warming temperatures will lead to more female hatchlings being produced, because the females are produced at the warmer temperatures,” Hays said.

    Sand temperature depends strongly on its colour, Hays said. “The darker the sand, the more heat it absorbs from sunlight. So blacker sand would be much warmer than lighter coloured sand.”

    At the “pivotal temperature”, 29C, the gender ratio of turtle hatchling is approximately 50:50. The ratio is upset as the sand temperature increases, until it reaches around 31C. Sand that hot will “almost exclusively produce female hatchlings”, Hays said.

    Similarly, sand at 28C will likely produce only males.

  17. Doubling of Antarctic ice loss revealed by European satellite

    Continent shedding 160 billion tonnes a year, CryoSat-2 shows, just days after warning over western ice sheet's collapse

    Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice.

    The new revelations follows the announcement last week that the collapse of the western Antarctica ice sheet has already begun and is unstoppable, although it may take many centuries to complete.

    Global warming is pushing up sea level by melting the world’s major ice caps and by warming and expanding oceans waters. The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet would eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world.

    The new data, published in journal Geophysical Research Letters, comes from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite, which was launched in 2010.

    It shows that the western Antarctica ice sheet is where 87% of the lost ice is being shed, with the east Antarctic and the Antarctic peninsula shedding the rest. The data collected from 2010-2013 was compared to that from 2005-2010.


    The satellite measures changes in the height of the ice and covers virtually the whole of the frozen continent, far more of than previous altimeter missions.

    CryoSat-2 collected five times more data than before in the crucial coastal regions where ice losses are concentrated and found key glaciers were losing many metres in height every year. The Pine Island, Thwaites and Smith Glaciers in west Antarctica were losing between 4m and 8m annually.

    “The increased thinning we have detected in west Antarctica is a worrying development,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd, at the University of Leeds and who led the study. “It adds concrete evidence that dramatic changes are underway in this part of our planet.”

    Professor David Vaughan, at the British Antarctic Survey and not involved in this research, said: “The increasing contribution of Antarctica to sea-level rise is a global issue, and we need to use every technique available to understand where and how much ice is being lost. Through some very clever technical improvements, [Shepherd’s team] have produced the best maps of Antarctic ice-loss we have ever had. Prediction of the rate of future global sea-level rise must be begin with a thorough understanding of current changes in the ice sheets – this study puts us exactly where we need to be.”

  18. Set in Perth WA


    These Final Hours (2013) - Plot Summary Poster

    These Final Hours (2013)

    Plot Summary

    Showing one plot summary

    It's the last day on earth, twelve hours before a cataclysmic event will end life as we know it. James makes his way across a lawless and chaotic city to the party to end all parties. Along the way, he somewhat reluctantly saves the life of a little girl named Rose who is desperately searching for her father. Stuck with the unexpected burden of responsibility, James is forced to come to terms with what really matters in life as the final hours tick away.
    - Written by Roadshow Films