Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fresh Eyes

Host Simon Baker travels to Northwest Australia to visit one Aboriginal tribe defending their 'Song Cycle' and way of life as their government and corporations attempt to develop natural gas fields around them.

Very powerful story on Walmadan (James Price Point). Amazing when its put into a context like this, sit back and watch, then share.


  1. No doubt about it Woodside shit-canned the gas plant for financial reasons but the activist campaign against it still stands as a world class effort. It's power has increased with time and has secured it's place in history. Legend it is.

  2. Bad week for Barnett continues...................


    Canadian tax cut deflates Woodside's Browse liquefied natural gas project

    Date: October 22 2014

    Angela Macdonald-Smith

    Woodside Petroleum's nascent ambitions to develop a $C15 billion ($15.14 billion) liquefied natural gas venture in western Canada have received a boost after British Columbia halved a proposed tax on gas export projects – but the same move could hinder its plans for the Browse floating project off Western Australia.

    Under the regime, announced overnight Sydney time, a tax of 3.5 per cent will be levied on LNG export projects, compared with the original proposal in February of up to 7 per cent.

    The cut came after Malaysian national oil company Petronas threatened to suspend its plans for an LNG venture in Canada. It boosts the prospects for projects there, analysts say.

    "It's bad news for Browse because suddenly there's a lot more competition at the high end of the cost curve," said Macquarie Equities analyst Adrian Wood.

    "Cheap projects are going to go ahead no matter what, but suddenly if there is momentum behind these high-cost Canadian projects it makes Australia's role in the LNG market that little bit harder."

    British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada, has 18 potential LNG projects that have, among them, invested more than $C7 billion to acquire natural gas assets, with another $C2 billion spent on preparations for gas export infrastructure.

    Province Finance Minister Michael de Jong said the government believed the framework "strikes the right balance between a competitive economic environment and a fair return to British Columbians".

    RBC analyst Greg Pardy said the tax announcement was "positive" given intensified LNG supply competition from the US, east Africa and elsewhere.

    "It would appear that British Columbia's LNG tax will not unduly burden a sector that has yet to come into existence," Mr Pardy told clients.

    Woodside's proposal for an LNG project at Grassy Point, about 30 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, is at an early stage, with no indication yet of gas supplies or potential partners.

    According to documents filed with regulators in August, Woodside envisages either an onshore export plant or a near-shore floating plant.

    The first phase would have between 6 million and 15 million tonnes a year of capacity, costing $C10 billion to $C15 billion.

    A Woodside spokeswoman could not immediately comment on the tax change.

    The most advanced project in Canada is Shell's LNG Canada venture, which involves major importer Korea Gas Corporation, Mitsubishi and PetroChina.

    LNG Canada said it was "pleased to have certainty" over the tax, which "provides balance" to the sector's challenges.

    Mr Wood said Shell's involvement in LNG Canada was another hurdle for Browse LNG, where the oil major is Woodside's biggest partner, because it likely has little appetite to undertake both projects simultaneously.

    "The front runner seems increasingly likely to be LNG Canada, and I think it's probably just pulled a little bit further ahead."

    Woodside is targeting a decision later this year to start initial engineering work on Browse LNG, and a final investment decision in late 2015.

  3. Juniors’ conventional conundrum

    Friday, 24 October 2014
    Anthony Barich

    WITH majors thinking twice about high-risk jurisdictions globally and re-focusing on the US, Aussie juniors are conflicted about whether conventional or unconventional is the way to go in a plummeting oil price.


    Papua New Guinea LNG shareholder says three more production Trains are possible

    Thursday, 23 October 2014

    OilSearch, the main shareholder with ExxonMobil in the Papua New Guinea LNG project, said natural gas in its resource base in the Oceania nation can support at least two additional LNG Trains in PNG.


  4. BYE BYE FRACKING............................


    Jeffrey Gundlach has never been one for seeing silver linings.

    While some economists see a fillip to economic growth from falling energy prices, the bond investment guru has added the falling oil price to his list of reasons to expect a weak economy and low interest rates as far as the eye can see, US investment correspondent Stephen Foley reports.

    Presenting to's Inside Fixed Income conference in Newport Beach, California, the founder of DoubleLine Capital predicted a further leg down in the price of a barrel of oil would wipe jobs created by the US shale revolution, and he wondered aloud if it might even tip the country into deflation.

    His thesis begins with Saudi Arabia's room to push the cost of Brent crude lower (see first slide below).

    Mr Gundlach said:

    I'm convinced Saudi Arabia wants oil at $70. They love turning the screws on people who mean them harm in the Middle East. That means bye bye fracking, bye bye all that job creation because at $70 fracking becomes too expensive.


    Oil will tumble to $70 says new 'bond king'

    The meltdown in the oil market is not over yet.

    That's the message from Jeffrey Gundlach, the star bond investor who predicts oil will plunge another $10 (it's $80 a barrel now).

    While another decline in oil prices would bring smiles to American consumers -- think around $2.70 a gallon at the pump as a national average -- it could spell trouble for the boom in shale projects boosting the U.S. economy.

    "I think it's going to $70 and if it does, it's bye, bye fracking. Goodbye all of the great job creation from fracking because fracking becomes too expensive if you can buy oil at $70 a barrel," Gundlach said on Wednesday at's Inside Fixed Income Conference.

    Related: Oil prices are plunging. Don't cheer yet

    Those concerns help explain why energy exploration stocks like Apache (APA)and Newfield Exploration (NFX) have been creamed in recent weeks as investors watch the downward spiraling price of oil.

    Crude plunged 2.4% to $80.52 a barrel on Wednesday. That's the lowest price since June 2012.

    Oil politics: While Gundlach acknowledged China's economic slowdown is hurting oil prices, he mostly pointed to geopolitical drivers to support his bearish energy call.

    "I'm convinced that Saudi Arabia wants the price of oil at $70," said Gundlach, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Los-Angeles-based DoubleLine.

    Related: Wall Street bombshell: Bill Gross out at Pimco

    That's because the Arab country's budget can withstand lower oil prices than some other oil-producing countries, including arch rival Iran. Saudi Arabia raised eyebrows recently by ramping up production in the face of plummeting prices.

    "They don't care if they run a short-term deficit because they love turning the screws on the people that mean them harm in the Middle East," said Gundlach, hinting at Iran.

    Another leg down in oil prices would also be bad news for Russia, which relies heavily on oil revenue to balance its budget. Last week, Moody's cited plunging oil prices in its decision to downgrade Russia's credit rating two notches to just above "junk" status.

    Related: Crashing oil prices could crush Vladimir Putin

  5. THE DON COULD BE BACK.......................


    Billionaires Andrew Forrest and Kerry Stokes are understood to have joined the race to buy Apache's WA gas business as they battle front runner Woodside Petroleum for the spoils.

    Industry sources say Mr Stokes' Seven Group Holdings has teamed with US private equity giant KKR, continuing a long-standing relationship between the two dating back to their joint ownership of the Seven Network.

    It is unclear whether they have already lodged a bid with Apache.

    The Forrest-controlled Fortescue Metals Group, meanwhile, is understood to be part of a consortium led by Macquarie Group and including WA's biggest industrial gas user, Alcoa.

    None of the bidders involved would yesterday confirm their interest in the Apache assets, which analysts expects to fetch at least $2.5 billion.

    WestBusiness first revealed Woodside's interest in August.

    There are reports Woodside, which is desperate to secure more oil and gas production to offset a lack of medium-term organic growth, is considering a knock-out bid of more than $4 billion.

    However, there has also been industry chatter Woodside's initial approach to Apache was a low-ball offer, which was rejected outright and sparked tension between the two camps.

    Seven Group is gradually building up an oil and gas business with onshore assets in the US and a pitch to secure Nexus Energy.

    The acquisition of Apache's WA unit, which includes the Varanus Island and Devil Creek gas hubs as well as a stake in the Chevron-led Wheatstone LNG project, would transform Seven Group under chief executive Don Voelte's reign.

    Fortescue and Alcoa's motivation to own the Apache assets is driven by their struggle to secure long-term gas supplies at below market prices for their respective Pilbara iron ore and South West alumina operations.

    Adding to the intrigue is that Alcoa is seeking more than $100 million in damages over the 2008 Varanus Island explosion that crippled WA's gas supply.

    Apache's WA joint venture partner Santos is also evaluating its options, though not expected to join a high-priced bidding war.

    Apache has told its investors it hopes to conclude its WA exit by June though sources close to the process have questioned whether the timetable can be met.

    The WA exit is part of a shareholder-triggered repositioning by Apache from global player to onshore US-focused specialist.

    To achieve its aim and placate restless investors, Apache needs to also withdraw from Egypt, where it is in a joint venture with Sinopec, and the North Sea.

    But it is understood Apache is struggling to sell its North Sea unit because of attached liabilities, which may put an end to its overall strategy of a piecemeal exit from its non-US positions.


    Apache oil find raises WA pulses, triples Carnarvon share price

    Angela Macdonald-Smith

    Local reaction to the news this week that US oil player Apache had discovered oil off a remote part of the West Australian coast ranged from exuberant enthusiasm to deep scepticism.

    Judging by the tripling in the stock price of Apache’s junior local partner Carnarvon Petroleum, the market arguably got ahead of itself.

    Even so, the chat among industry types is that the find of oil in the offshore Canning Basin – known also as the Bedout sub-Basin – is indeed significant.


    Apache was of course cautious, given the early results. Its preliminary estimate of a possible find of 300 million barrels of oil in place made it clear there was just a 10 per cent chance of that volume. With conventional dis­coveries typically recovering only about a third of oil “in place”, the volume that may be produced will be much smaller and will depend on the permeability and porosity of the reservoir.

    Carnarvon boss Adrian Cook was also voicing caution when he spoke with Drilling down this week, and was backing away from the headline of his company’s early media release hailing “the largest oil discovery in Australia in 30 years”.

  6. Just imagine if Woodside were out at Prices Point now building their doomed gas plant.
    It rained for months out there last wet and the road was closed for most of it.

    As Redhand said "..........(we) would just like to remind Proctor/Bloom that if Woodside had gone ahead they would have sunk their corporation and Broome would have gone down with them."

    Now this.....................


    Oil slump is threat to LNG projects: falling prices could cut export revenue by $11bn

    The Australian |
    October 25, 2014

    Matt Chambers

    LOWER oil prices could put a stop to the nation’s future LNG projects, even ones that still stack up on paper, and cut up to $11 billion a year from increasingly LNG-reliant export revenue, ­industry leaders and analysts say.

    Brent crude prices that held above $US100 a barrel for most of the past three years have slumped dramatically since June, falling 25 per cent to a four-year low of about $US85 a barrel and, if ­sustained, hitting the economics of six under-construction LNG plants, whose contract prices are linked to moves in oil.

    If prices don’t bounce, industry experts and analysts say returns will be poor on most existing projects and any Australian future LNG projects will be questionable.

    Adding to the hurdle of getting a new LNG project into construction at a time when shareholders are demanding greater discipline would be a big overall cashflow hit to the oil majors, which are the most likely proponents of new LNG projects.

    Former senior BHP Billiton executive Alberto Calderon, who was a contender to replace chief executive Marius Kloppers last year, says a sustained period of $US80 oil would accelerate an inevitable move to lower LNG prices that would make most Australian LNG projects not return their cost of capital.

    “The problem with Australian LNG is it has a break-even price of somewhere around $US14 (per million British thermal units),” Mr Calderon, BHP’s former chief commercial officer, told The Weekend Australian.

    “An oil price of $US80 a barrel would translate to $US12 LNG, which is close to spot prices and which would hurt the LNG projects. Anything at below $US13.50 or $US14 means money is being lost.”

    Mr Calderon, who was head of corporate strategy when BHP went big into US shale oil and gas when it sold out of the Browse LNG project in WA, said LNG ­prices would probably drift down to $US12 in the longer term as the US exports up to 100 million ­tonnes of LNG a year over the next decade and cheaper Russian gas arrives in China.

    LNG pricing is kept confidential, but the general assumption is that at $US100 a barrel, LNG ­prices are $US15 per MMBtu. A 20 per cent drop in oil would be ­reflected in the LNG price, with contract floors not kicking in until oil prices fall to $US60 or less.

    Oil has slumped as global demand falters, the US and Libya have increased supply and Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to cut production to underpin prices has led to speculation it is happy to leave prices at levels that may hamper US shale oil growth.

    Few are forecasting oil will stay at current levels, with long-term analysts forecasts for Brent remaining at just above $US100.

    But futures markets, where traders are betting on and hedging oil prices, are indicating that prices are now not expected to rise above $US90 in the next five years.

  7. Oil slump is threat to LNG projects: falling prices could cut export revenue by $11bn

    In March, Australia’s Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics forecast a $US105 oil price would earn the nation $60.5bn a year of LNG export revenue in 2017 and 2018, when the $180bn of under-construction projects should be in full production.

    At current prices of $US85 a barrel, and keeping BREE’s currency assumptions of US85c, revenue falls by $11.5bn to $49bn. The lower profits would also substantially extend the wait for the new projects to use up ­depreciation credits and start paying the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax.

    Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said a recent company strategic review had employed consultants to take a close look at global LNG projects.

    It found most Australian projects were not profitable at lower oil prices, unlike in Papua New Guinea. “A number of projects across the world become pretty marginal at $US80-$US85 and if you believe the oil price is going to stay in that range of $US80-$US90, that will start to impact ­future investments for projects,” Mr Botten told The Weekend ­Australian.

    “If you spent your money, you’re still likely to produce but I’m sure that oil price will attenuate new projects.”

    He also warned that the game could change for projects that were still marginally economic as big oil companies dealt with falling cashflow.

    “Where shareholders are already telling you to demonstrate discipline in investment and instead of putting it in marginal projects, give it back, some of these projects are going to struggle to get boards around the world to commit substantial licks of money,” Mr Botten said.

    Neither Mr Botten nor Mr Calderon said they were forecasting oil prices would stay at depressed levels.

    The most likely future LNG projects in Australia are three Woodside-operated Browse floating LNG plants off Western Australia, which would use major partner Shell’s technology, and a $US10bn fourth-train expansion of the Gorgon LNG plant being built by Chevron and which has Shell and ExxonMobil as ­partners.

    London-based JPMorgan oil analyst Fred Lucas said the lower oil price was expected to lead to “big ticket” project deferrals.

    “The prospect of another ­potentially prolonged period of much lower than expected oil ­prices should see big oil’s boards reach for the ‘save cash, preserve value, protect the dividend’ ­restructuring folder,” Mr Lucas said.

    “We expect the first company signals on 2015 upstream capital expenditure to point to lower than prior guidance.”

    JPMorgan estimates that a $US25 drop in oil prices to $US80 during 2015 and 2016 would mean $US38bn of lost free cashflow for Shell.

    Credit Suisse analyst Thomas Adolff, who covers big oil from London, said many LNG projects were based on Brent staying at $US90-$US100.


    No doubt about it - it would have been all over with not just local panic but nationwide panic felt around the world.


  8. The dark property cloud hanging over China
    about 21 hours ago | 2:30pm | Dow Jones Newswires

    The average price of new homes in 70 Chinese cities fell year over year in September for the first time in nearly two years, as property developers continue to cut prices to lure home buyers. The drop is yet another signal of a flagging property market, which poses one of the biggest risks to China’s slowing economy.

    The average price of new homes declined 1.1% in September compared with a 0.5% gain in August. The reading marks the first drop since December 2012 when prices fell 0.1%. On a month over month basis, prices in September continued to fall for the fifth straight month, down 1.0% compared with a 1.1% fall in August, according to calculations by The Wall Street Journal.

    Many economists and investors are concerned that a worsening slump in the property market could cause a sharper-than-expected slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.

  9. Uranium miner ERA 'did not meet expected standards', new report over Kakadu acid spill says

    A report has criticised standards at a Kakadu uranium mine, but local Aboriginal people say the investigation process had broken down and they had not been told the report was being released.

    The investigation looked into the circumstances surrounding the incident at the Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) Ranger uranium mine in the national park, where 1,400 cubic metres of acidic slurry was spilt out of a collapsed tank about 1:00am on December 7, 2013.

    The report found "at the time of the tank failure ERA's management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet expected standards".


    Justin O'Brien, chief executive of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation which represents the Mirarr traditional owners of the area, said they were not informed of the intention to release the report yesterday.

    "I don't know whether they've fallen down their deep dark hole, like in Alice in Wonderland and landed at the Mad Hatter's tea party, because it's just absurd that you would establish a taskforce to investigate, deliberate over a nearly 12-month period and then release the report and not have any dialogue with any taskforce members," Mr O'Brien said.

    "We are bitterly disappointed that the investigation taskforce process has broken down, not for any want of trying on our part.

    "Federal and NT government ministers should not have publicly released the report summary without the agreement of all taskforce members," he said.

    "To date the ministers have refused to commit to undertaking such a process.


  10. What a world they walked into.


    Pintupi Nine mark 30th anniversary of first contact with white Australia

    The last remaining group of Indigenous Australians to make contact with white Australia is marking the 30th anniversary of the event.

    The so-called Pintupi Nine were discovered living a traditional hunter gatherer life almost 200 years after European settlers first landed in the country.

    They spent their days walking enormous distances from rock-hole to water-soak searching for water, until the day in 1984 when they stumbled on the outside world and the media stumbled on them.

    Three decades after they first laid eyes on white Australians, the Pintupi Nine have told their version of that day.

    The family's leader, Warlimpirrnga, now in his early 50s, recalled his first contact with the outside world.

    "We had just speared a kangaroo," he said through a translator.

    "We could smell the shit of other humans in the air and we saw smoke, and we knew there must have been people camping close by."

    He said he and his brother approached the campsite and spotted two men from the Kiwirrkurra community, which is located a couple of hundred kilometres away.

    "The people heard me. They were scared. They became frantic running back and forth," he said.

    The chance encounter sparked a dramatic chase over the next three days to track down the elusive Pintupi Nine.


    Since then the family had been exposed to a life that was, in some ways, easier than what they had previously known, with ready access to food and water, housing, education and medical treatment.

    But it also exposed them to harsher elements of the modern world - "white-fella" diseases, alcohol, substance abuse.

    All have had an impact on each of the family members in one way or another.

    Their transition to community life marked the end of tens of thousands of years of continuous occupation of the Pintupi land, one of the harshest environments on the planet.

    But as Yikultji explained, the land still holds as strong a bond for her today as it did 30 years ago.

    "I'm Yikultji, Lake Mackay is my country, my home, my dreamtime stories, my birthplace," she said.

    "This is my place, my country. I grew up around Lake Mackay. This is where I was born."

  11. The treatment of Ms. Dhu...............


    Ms Dhu death: Family distressed by details of WA lockup death amid calls for urgent inquiry

    The family of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody in August says they are "devastated" to learn details of her death.

    Ms Dhu, 22, died in August after being locked up in the South Hedland Police Station in Western Australia over unpaid fines.

    She was taken to the Hedland Health Campus on three occasions.

    On her third visit to hospital Ms Dhu was not breathing, did not have a pulse and was unconscious.

    The ABC can exclusively reveal the final hours of Ms Dhu's life, including that she was transported from the lockup to hospital in the rear pod of a police vehicle.

    In a letter obtained by the ABC the regional medical director explained on August 4, Ms Dhu "was returned to the hospital by the police unconscious, pulseless and not breathing".


    How can anyone find someone " unconscious, pulseless and not breathing " and not call an ambulance ?

    A male witness from Yandi Yarra saw the police drag her across the concrete floor by her arms.

    Legalised murder.


  12. Accepted bad behaviour by police would question if this man is really the guilty person.

    (Sympathy to the deceased family)


    Judge ruled Gibson was 'denied human rights'

    Ms Bishop remained highly critical of the police investigation into her son's death.

    Gibson was initially charged with murder, but the botched handling of initial police interviews led to Gibson's early admissions about the crime being ruled inadmissible.

    In considering a pretrial application from Gibson's lawyers, the Supreme Court ruled that the police had breached Gibson's basic rights by unlawfully detaining him, failing to record the interview, failing to use an interpreter and failing to respect his right to speak with a lawyer.

    The murder charge was dropped and prosecutors then accepted a guilty plea to a lesser charge of manslaughter.


    Poor policing and courtroom rules

    Poor policing is a problem throughout Australia. Police culture is resistant to change and confession-led rather than forensically driven [11]. CrimTrac, a national database for DNA profiles, was established in 2000 but not used or extended since. Laws making it illegal to routinely sample DNA do not help.

    Robin Napper, who helped clear more than five people from wrongful convictions, found a “huge resentment from Australian police who want to keep their egos intact.” [11] If you have an unlucky day you might be wrongfully locked up. If you’re Aboriginal, 364 days might be unlucky.

    Dr Diana Eades, a university linguist, found that during courtroom hearings Aboriginal witnesses were subjected to bullying and shouting until they finally agreed to the propositions being put out to them [14]. “Despite the obvious fact that the answers were given under great duress, and therefore not given freely, the legal process interpreted them literally,” she said.

    Even if a witness repeatedly answers just “Yes” to a question, courtroom rules allow lawyers to replace this answer with the words from the question, and then report these as if they were the witness’ own words [14].

    Life is cheap in Australia. If the police haven't got a lead in a homicide after a couple of weeks and it's not a high-profile victim, then it's described as a missing person.
    —Robin Napper, independent forensic investigator


    Aboriginal people lack understanding of white law

    More than 90% of people in Arnhem Land, NT, could not answer basic legal questions and think white society is ‘lawless’ [1]. In some Aboriginal communities people are unaware that rape is considered illegal. 95% of Yolngu people could not explain the 30 most commonly used English legal terms, such as ‘bail’, ‘commit’, ‘arrest’ or even ‘guilty’. Even 90% of community leaders, school teachers and council representatives had no understanding of these legal terms.

    This might explain why in 2008 over 80% of the Northern Territory prison population was Aboriginal. Many of them might as well be innocent because they didn’t understand what ‘guilty’ meant.

    “People thought that pleading guilty actually got them through the court quickly and they didn’t go to jail,” says Richard Trudgen, CEO of the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services [1].

    “When they realised what the term guilty meant they were able to identify some of the things that they were convicted of that they never had anything to do with.”

    When asked about their lawyer helping them, many [Aboriginal people] were surprised to hear that this person was 'on their side'.
    —Findings in the An Absence of Mutual Respect report [1]

    Another reason why Aboriginal people make ‘false’ statements in court is that they are hearing-impaired through a cycle of poor health.

    There is a clear relationship between hearing loss and early Indigenous justice problems [9] —90% of Indigenous inmates in Darwin Correctional Centre suffer from hearing loss.


    1. Re "Judge ruled Gibson was 'denied human rights'"
      and "Aboriginal people lack understanding of white law"
      There is a direct link to the Pintubi Nine story "Pintupi Nine mark 30th anniversary of first contact with white Australia"

      "Gene Gibson, 23, from the Western Desert town of KIWIRRKURRA sat motionless as the sentencing was handed down in the WA Supreme Court."

      And this story.

      "KIWIRRKURRA was more an idea than a ­community in October 1984: a collection of steel-mesh humpies and crude timber-and-­corrugated-iron buildings clustered around a windmill water-bore 80km southwest of Lake Mackay. Its only permanent white resident was its government co-ordinator, Charlie McMahon, a didgeridoo-playing jack-of-all trades whose left hand, blown off when he was a teenager messing about with rockets, has been replaced by a mechanical steel hook. The sinking of that bore a year earlier had been a major event for the ­Pintupi, drawing them back to their home country after a long exile. Many were themselves first-contact nomads who had left the desert during the great droughts of the 1950s and early ’60s, ending up scattered to distant locales such as the ­Catholic mission in Balgo, 300km north, or across the Northern Territory border in Papunya, 450km east. In the intervening years whitefella diseases had exacted a heavy toll and the sadness of ­watjilpa (homesickness) had been sharpened by the stigma of being the last mob to give up the old customs of the time “before trousers”.

      When an emaciated Mandildjara couple were found on the western edge of the Gibson Desert in 1977, they were widely assumed to be – as a book about them was entitled – the last of the nomads. But rumours persisted that a handful of remnant Pintupi still roamed the desert near the NT border, and at Kiwirrkurra some even claimed to know their identities."

      "“We were frightened,” she recalls. “We went onwards round the bend – ‘Hey, there’s a lot of people there – Aboriginal people, there they are!’ … We left them and I bolted. I tricked the car on the sand dunes – as the car was coming we were running back on the sand dune, tricky way. They grabbed us. Walala and Warlimpirrnga didn’t know they had grabbed us. They took us four.” Alerted to the drama, Warlimpirrnga hurled a spear at the Kiwirrkurra mob but was persuaded to put down his weapons by Freddy West, a fully initiated elder who had known Warlimpirrnga’s father when he himself lived in the desert 20 years earlier. The stand-off dissipated when the desert group realised they were not being kidnapped but offered a chance to be reunited with their extended clan."

      "David Scrimgeour had only recently started work as the founding doctor of the Pintupi Homelands Health Service when he got a call alerting him to the arrival of nine fully nomadic Pintupi in Kiwirrkurra. Scrimgeour, who was based 180km east in Kintore, drove to the ­community the next day and retains a vivid memory of his first encounter with the group. “They were the most healthy people I have ever seen,” he recalls. “They were literally glowing with health – not an ounce of superfluous fat. They were extremely fit.”

      Which is connected to the other story "Aboriginal people lack understanding of white law"

      For the police to still be acting in this way in 2014 is a disgrace to us all.

  13. Aboriginal prison statistics: “Every year it gets worse”

    Australia is heading towards one in two of the prison population comprised by Aboriginal prisoners – by 2020. In 1992, the ratio was one in seven [38].

    We are at a state of emergency, we can't afford any more experiment.
    —Shane Phillips, Tribal Warrior Association, about Aboriginal prison rates [17]

    The Alice Springs Prison is so far beyond capacity that it's refusing to take prisoners.
    —Mark O'Reilly, principal legal officer, Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, in 2011


    Since 1989, the imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has increased 12 times faster than the rate for non-Aboriginal people


    Half of the 10- to 17-year-olds in jails are Aboriginal [3]. More than 30% of all Australian Aboriginal males come before Corrective Services [37]. No wonder that 91% of all Aboriginal prisoners are male [34].

    In 1992 there were 15,000 Aboriginal prisoners, by 2012 that figure had doubled to 30,000. The imprisonment of Aboriginal peoples skyrocketed from 1 in 7 of all prisoners in 1992 to 1 in 4 in 2012, and to nearly 1 in 3 in 2014 [20].

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), between 2002 and 2012, imprisonment rates for Aboriginal Australians increased from 1,262 to 1,914 Aboriginal prisoners per 100,000 adult Aboriginal population. In comparison, the rate for non-Aboriginal prisoners increased from 123 to 129 per 100,000 adult non-Aboriginal population [35].

    Jailing Aboriginal people in such large numbers has numerous effects on their communities. For example, it prevents elders passing down traditional knowledge to the next generation.

    The fact is, every year it gets worse.
    —Gino Vumbaca, Executive Director, Australian National Council on Drugs, about Aboriginal prison rates [3]

    Prison rates highest in Western Australia

    Western Australia always had a higher incarceration rate of Aboriginal people compared to the rest of Australia, and rates have nearly doubled between 1990 and 2010 [15].

    A parliamentary report in 2010 found the rate of Aboriginal people jailed per 100,000 people in Western Australia was 2,483, while the figure for African Americans in the United States is 2,290 [15]. In March 2009 Western Australia’s rate was 3,741 [23].

    Western Australia incarcerates the Aboriginal peoples of its State at 9 times the rate of Apartheid South Africa.
    —Gerry Georgatos, Human Rights Alliance, Perth [18]

    What you cannot get away from is that the rate of Indigenous imprisonment in Western Australia is far greater than anywhere else in the country and indeed it compares with the worst rates of imprisonment, of African Americans in the United States.
    —Bob Debus, chair of the federal inquiry into the over-representation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system [13]

    Perth based academic, prison reform advocate and restorative justice specialist Dr Brian Steels suggests that Western Australia’s high prison rates could be related to the “frontier mentality” of police or racism

  14. Legacies of the US colony.



    Although many feel that the United States has overcome its racist history, the legacies of colonialism, slavery and racism still affect our policies and practices today.

    Of the nearly 2.1 million adult men and women imprisoned in the United States, roughly 70% are persons of color.

    1 Within the criminal justice system, people of color are imprisoned disproportionately due to racist laws, are denied access to the rehabilitative options given to Whites, and are harassed and mistreated by U.S. agencies.

    Although people of color commit most crimes at the same rate as Whites, the unequal targeting and treatment of people of color throughout the criminal justice system – from arrest to sentencing – results in the disproportionate imprisonment of people of color.


    • On average, 1 in 25 adult American Indians is under the jurisdiction of the nation’s criminal justice system – more than twice the number of White adults in the system.5
    • 42.5% of prisoners on Death Row are Black, more than three times the percentage of Black Americans in the national population.6
    • In 2003, in the United States, White people were imprisoned at a rate of 376 per every 100,000 in the population, compared to 709 per 100,000 American Indians7, 997 per 100,000 Latinos and 2,526 per 100,000 Blacks. in the population.8
    • Black males have a 32% chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives; Hispanic males have a 17% chance; White males have a 6% chance.

  15. And for women..............


    Aboriginal women and the law

    Wednesday, August 12, 1992


    .....Aboriginal women have survived 204 years of violent colonial dispossession, alienation, poverty, rape, assault and murder. Aboriginal customary law was overthrown by the colonial, racist and patriarchal judicial system, based on a false legal framework (terra nullius/empty land) in 1788.

    Conservative estimates show that today our death rate is four times higher than the rest of the community, life expectancy is up to 22 years shorter, infant mortality rates are up to three times higher and hospitalisation rates three to five times greater. Every indicator of social and economic status shows that our people continue to suffer a colonised existence in poverty.

    In Australia it is very clear that the state legitimises violence against women. It has never been able to provide indigenous women and children with basic human rights. It has not provided us

    with the standards of health, housing, education, employment etc, that it has for non-Aboriginal Australians.

    Aboriginal women have no faith in the criminal justice system, as clearly expressed by a Cape York woman:

    "If a white woman gets bashed or raped here, the police do something. When it's us they just laugh. The fellow keeps walking around, everybody knows but nothing is done."

    An Aboriginal woman living in an urban area said:

    "How can we call the police in? They come with their guns drawn, and an innocent person gets killed."


    Inside prison walls

    The prison system has itself been shown to be more dangerous and violent than the outside society. Aboriginal women make up a disproportionately large number of the prison population. In 1989, Aboriginal women were almost 50% of all women in custodial care although Aboriginal women represent less that 1.5% of the national female population.


    Over-policing of minor public order offences — that is, racist practices — are locking up and terrorising our sisters, mothers and daughters.

    Evidence was presented to the Inquiry Into Racist Violence(1991) which indicated that Aboriginal and Islander women and girls have been sexually threatened and abused by police officers. The following are some examples:

    In Mossman (northern Queensland) an Aboriginal woman alleged that she had been raped by a police officer whilst in custody.
    There were also complaints from Alice Springs that Aboriginal teenage girls had been assaulted and raped by police officers and other white males.
    One woman who gave evidence said police in Townsville had threatened to rape her, and issues of sexual harassment of Aboriginal woman were raised in Redfern, Sydney.
    A youth worker in Adelaide told the inquiry about an incident of alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by police officers. According to the youth worker the girl was too terrified and ashamed to lodge a formal complaint. An Aboriginal welfare worker told of a serious police assault on her daughter, who was pregnant and who miscarried as a result of the violence. Besides being assaulted, the girl was allegedly raped by police officers whilst in custody.

    According to her mother, the young woman was too traumatised by the event to lodge a formal complaint. Aboriginal girls have been referred to as "black molls" and "black sluts" by the authorities.

    Aboriginal women are confronted by the dual barriers of racism and sexism. We are confronted by a historically and contemporarily racist police force. We deserve a justice system which provides care and protection. However, the colonial state legitimates acts of violence and police have been given the "licence" to kill, rape and assault Aboriginal women and children because they are not held accountable for their actions.


    Our children

    We are afraid of the consequences the current "law and order" regimes are going to have on our children and future generations.





    An Historical Legacy of Violence
    It is important to recognise the way in which Aboriginal women were treated when white
    man first arrived in their country. All Aboriginal people were treated violently with no regard
    for individuality, culture or spirit. Before white man's arrival, all Aboriginal people were
    treated equally; they had different roles but all had equal importance and all contributed in
    significant ways to day to day needs and the development of society. The following quotes
    from Racist Violence: Report of National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia give
    a brief indication of the violence used against Aboriginal people.
    The process of colonisation was characterised by small scale but systematic
    physical violence as a 'bloody frontier was moved across Australia' for more
    than 160 years. It is estimated that during that time approximately 20,000
    Aborigines and 2,000 Europeans and their allies were killed in frontier conflict
    (Australia. National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia 1991, p. 38).
    According to Aboriginal oral history, those who caused trouble or questioned the
    authority of Europeans could expect little protection from the law or law
    enforcers (Australia. National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia 1991,
    p. 42).


    · The police are slow to respond to calls of sexual assault;
    · police officers' own attitudes determine how quickly they come out and how much
    importance they place on calls;
    · police stations may not be open when needed; and
    · most of the police in country towns are male¾Aboriginal women need to be able to
    talk to female police officers.
    On many occasions, Aboriginal women have accused the police of sexual assaults. For
    instance, in the late-1980s an Aboriginal woman accused a number of off-duty police
    officers of raping her in a police cell. The case was eventually thrown out of court because
    of 'lack of evidence'. The people who were present were unwilling to give evidence against
    the police. This incident has stopped other Aboriginal women and men in the community
    from using the police.

    Only recently, Aboriginal women in another town with a high Aboriginal and police
    population, have complained about sexual assault and threatened sexual assault by the police
    in the police cells. Comments from Aboriginal women in this town include:
    · police do not have a good perception of Aboriginal women;
    · police often have their own sexist and racist views which affect the way they react to
    Aboriginal women;
    · the police do not put much effort into investigating rapes of Aboriginal women. They
    spend more time digging up old warrants; and
    · the police need to make themselves more accessible.
    The women spoken to made the following comments:
    The police would rather dig up old warrants instead of investigating rapes. These
    are the brothers of the girls who are being raped. Their experience of a cop is
    just that [being raped]. Historically, police were raping young girls in the back of
    paddy wagons. So we are talking about mothers of the girls who are now being
    raped. What sort of advice does a mother give her daughter when she knows
    herself or sisters or cousins were raped by police?


    And the word on the street around Broome is the kidnapping and raping of young girls has once again moved into top gear as the lawlessness continues by police in the town.

    No wonder people are pissed off and respect has dropped dramatically.


  17. NSW failed to protect children from abuse, says Michael Coutts-Trotter

    Department of Family and Community Services secretary apologises for response to abuse of Aboriginal children

    Friday 24 October 2014

    A high-ranking NSW public servant has admitted the state failed to protect Aboriginal children from horrendous abuse at a foster home it licensed. He has apologised for the state treating them badly when they asked for an apology and compensation.

    Michael Coutts-Trotter, secretary of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, said on Friday that major changes will be made to the department and its legal services after a review uncovered major failings in how allegations of abuse were handled at Bethcar children’s home in Brewarrina, in remote NSW.

    The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard over three days how the department failed to act to stop abuse when girls reported being raped and beaten in the 1980s.

    It has also heard how 15 abuse survivors were put through legal hell by lawyers working for the Crown Solicitors Office in a long, drawn-out civil case, during which they were not believed and state liability was denied.

    In a detailed apology, Coutts-Trotter, who has reviewed the handling of the case, said that “the terrible physical and sexual abuse inflicted upon children and young people by those entrusted to care for them has had devastating and lifelong impacts … .”


    NSW government solicitor admits flaw in handling of compensation cases

    Women abused at a children’s home in Brewarrina in 70s and 80s had to prove abuse even though perpetrator had already been jailed

    A senior NSW government solicitor admits state lawyers should not have asked women to prove they were sexually abused as children when the man who terrorised them was already in jail for his crimes.

    Helen Allison, senior solicitor at the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office, supervised the defence of a civil claim brought by 15 plaintiffs who were physically and sexually abused at Bethcar Children’s Home in Brewarrina, in the 1970s and 80s.

    On the second day of a royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse hearing into Bethcar, Allison was answering questions about the state’s legal strategy when 14 women and one man sought redress and an apology.

    In defending the claim, lodged in 2008, the state legal team took a tough stance – denying liability and drawing out proceedings, the commission heard.

    They wanted each case tested separately and plaintiffs were asked to prove the abuse although one perpetrator, Colin Gibson, was jailed in 2007 on two sentences of 12 years and 18 years.

    Allison was asked if it was hypocritical to ask the plaintiffs to prove their case when the perpetrator had been convicted and jailed.

    “I believe it should not have been done but I don’t believe it’s hypocritical,” Allison said.

    Allison conceded that forcing some of the plaintiffs to prove allegations when they had been established was not the right thing to do.

  18. Girl, 5, raped and flogged for being late for dinner at foster home, inquiry told

    State of NSW resisted accepting liability for abuse at Bethcar children’s home despite one manager being jailed for 30 years

    Wednesday 22 October 2014

    A girl who was physically and sexually abused from the age of five until 15 by her foster parents at a home for Indigenous children was also lied to and convinced to be so terrified of her biological parents she would not speak to them, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard.

    Kathleen Biles and two of her siblings were made wards of the state and sent to live at the Bethcar Children’s Home in Brewarrina in remote northern NSW more than 30 years ago.

    The state-funded home was run by Burt and Edith Gordon and their son-in-law Colin Gibson from 1969 to 1989.


    Another five-year-old girl was raped and then flogged when she was late for dinner after she was placed in Bethcar at the age of two or three. The abuse began soon after. The girl, given the pseudonym AIQ for legal reasons, told no one until she was in her late 30s.

    Children who went to police and NSW welfare officers with allegations of abuse were returned to the home where they were beaten, the commission heard.

    As the hearing began in Sydney, the commission was told the state of NSW had for years resisted accepting liability for any abuse and disputed for four years that it had occurred – even after Gibson was jailed.

  19. Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

    Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says.


    AARON MATÉ: There’s a very comic scene where then he goes to court, and he has a hard time convincing his public defender why he doesn’t want to pay a fine for standing in front of his home.

    MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, and this is something that I encountered over and over and over again, is that people who were charged with these minor sort of harassing offenses, they—when the state discovers that the case against them is not very good, they start offering deals to the accused. And when people protest that "I’m not going to plead, because I didn’t do anything wrong," they keep offering better and better and better deals. And no one can understand why they won’t plead guilty, because, in reality, most people do. They will end up taking—

    AMY GOODMAN: Like all the bankers plead guilty.

    MATT TAIBBI: Right, yeah, exactly. Of course, it’s completely the opposite situation on the other side of the coin.


    Australia a paradise for corporate crooks says regulator

    The boss of the corporate regulator says Australia is too soft on corporate criminals and increased civil penalties including more jail terms are needed.

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman, Greg Medcraft, told journalists at a Walkley Foundation function that "Australia is a paradise for white collar crime."

    "[In] most countries the penalties are two to three times the amount gained or lost," he told the function.

    "Often [in] Australia it's actually worthwhile breaking the law to do the trade. You can't have that."

    The corporate watchdog is under fire and accused of not doing enough to crack down on financial planning scandals at the big banks and for being too soft on big business.


    Lack of resources

    Mr Medcraft said ASIC is hamstrung by a lack of resources. It has lost 200 staff this year because of budget cuts and another 100 will go next year from its 1,500 strong workforce.


    In a statement Finance Minister Matthias Cormann said: "I asked Greg Medcraft whether he believed Australia was a paradise for white collar criminals and his direct response to me was a clear and unambiguous 'no'."

    Mr Cormann says ASIC needs to competently enforce the current laws and the Government will increase penalties for corporate crimes if it is presented with persuasive evidence.

  20. " is worth contemplating once again what the most concerted enforcement action of the past couple of years has been – the only raid.

    This was the raid on the campsite of a lone green activist, Jonathan Moylan, in Singleton, NSW. Moylan's crime had been to issue a fake press release to rabble a coal company and its bankers. Ironically, this was an action taken from principle, not from personal gain. "


    The response to the Commonwealth financial planning scandal shows banks really are above the law

    Met a bloke the other day who had lost the lot. He inherited a fortune, trusted a bank to invest it for him. They blew it all up in a cocktail of reckless leverage and fees. Now he lives in a Salvation Army hostel.

    We won't mention his name at this point, nor that of the bank. Suffice to say it is one of the usual culprits. This is an unusual case, the riches-to-rags story quite exceptional, but this man is merely one of thousands whose life savings have been obliterated due to corporate malfeasance by perpetrators who will never face justice.

    It is a sad reality that while bankers enjoy the cherished place of being protected by the taxpayers, they are also above the law. Look no further than the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal. Rather than being prosecuted, the careers of those responsible have advanced. And those above them have continued to rake in bonuses. This despite a Senate inquiry that found fraud. The enforcement action has been feeble. It has been conveniently institutional rather than targeting actual people.

    Adding insult to injury for the victims, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann emerged with the government's response to the Inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Friday.

    To borrow from Cormann's own rich vernacular, this is truly the response of an "economic girlie man".

    No penalties, no redress for the palpably poor performance of ASIC. The same crew responsible for a litany of failures is still running the commission. Nor are there any reprisals for the bad behaviour of the people at Australia's biggest financial institution, the Commonwealth Bank.

    There was no need for a royal commission on CBA, something the senators had called for. And some of the Senate's recommendations, embraced by Cormann, are good. A register of financial planners, for instance, is long overdue. Essentially, though, this is little more than a list, a list slated to cost $5 million.

    The problem with corporate regulation in this country is essentially cultural, however. It is about people cowed by the big end of town, spooked into inaction. It is about regulation by press release. It is about the appearance of regulation.

    Now the people running the large institutions have been sent an unequivocal message that they will not be prosecuted come hell or high water, it is worth contemplating once again what the most concerted enforcement action of the past couple of years has been – the only raid.

    This was the raid on the campsite of a lone green activist, Jonathan Moylan, in Singleton, NSW. Moylan's crime had been to issue a fake press release to rabble a coal company and its bankers. Ironically, this was an action taken from principle, not from personal gain.


    Thanks to the high document search fees – for information which is already public – ASIC is a golden goose for government. Yes, the economic girlie men may well be slashing its budget, but historically the commission has cut a cheque to Canberra in the vicinity of $350 million a year.

    Presumably they don't want to encourage too much enforcement, court cases are costly, or that might compromise the golden goose.

    So consumers will lose and the real cost will be in the coming years when there is a downturn and the failure of regulation will cost thousands more Australians their life savings as the big end of town knows their only penalty for bad behaviour is a spot of reputational damage.

  21. Who will pay the most for a higher and/or broader GST ?

    Someone in Perth who pays $1 a kilo for spuds


    Someone in a remote community who pays $2 a spud ?


    The bush will once again carry the biggest burden.


    Meanwhile the subs and F-35's are going ahead ?
    Along with the Chevron smoko spot and Packer Stadium.


    How much faster can we dig it all up just to get worse off ?


    1. The federal government is planning a $10 billion-plus warship building project for South Australia, according to reports.

      The eight navy frigates are expected to be built by the government-owned contractor ASC and an announcement confirming the deal could be announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott within weeks, News Corp Australia says.

      ASC is the nation's largest specialised defence ship building firm.

      It employs more than 2000 people at two facilities in Adelaide and one in Western Australia.

  22. Clive Palmer isn't optimistic there will be a mature debate on federation.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has laid out a timetable for the government's federation review, with recommendations expected in the run-up to the 2016 federal election.

    He's called for a mature debate on the review, which will also look at the future of the GST.


    Former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan said a GST increase would hit low income earners hardest and further entrench inequality.

    "Increasing the GST: that's what tax reform means to the Liberal Party," he told reporters.


    West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has again threatened to vote down any changes to the Goods and Services Tax, unless the state secures a greater share.

    However, the move has prompted South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill to accuse WA of "moral bankruptcy".

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on the weekend the Government was ready to work with the states on changes to the tax, by either lifting the rate of the GST or broadening its base.

    Mr Barnett said he welcomed the Prime Minister's acknowledgement that the "GST system is failing" but said he would not consider any changes to the tax, unless the Federal Government altered its carve-up.

    "Under the GST arrangement, every state and territory has to agree if there's an increase in the rate of GST, or broadening of the breadth of GST, for example to take in fresh food," he said.

    "We've made it very clear for a long time [that] we will only agree to an increase in the rate or broadening of the application of the GST, if the main issue and that is the sharing-up of the GST, is corrected.

    "Western Australia can stop that, unless I sign on the line, it cannot happen."


    South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, the only Labor premier, labelled the Prime Minister's plan unrealistic.

    Mr Weatherill told Radio National Breakfast's Fran Kelly he was philosophically opposed to increasing GST as it placed an increased burden on lower income earners who could least afford it.

    Mr Weatherill also accused WA of "moral bankruptcy" for seeking a higher return of GST.

    "For much of the history of the federation, Western Australia was the beggar state, it had its hand out and the rest of the Commonwealth was shoving money off to Western Australia," he said.

    "Now they've struck gold they want to cut themselves adrift and treat themselves as separate from the rest of the country. Well what an incredible moral bankruptcy that is."

    Mr Barnett rejected the claim.

  23. Blow for giant coal port expansion as US banks opt out

    Two more global banking giants have declared they will not participate in funding for the Abbot Point coal port expansion, adding fresh financial doubts for what are potentially Australia's biggest coal mines.

    US-based Citi and Morgan Stanley have confirmed to opponents of the proposed Queensland port expansion near the Great Barrier Reef and the related coal mines in the Galilee Basin that they will avoid involvement in Abbot Port.


    The mines have been dogged by uncertain finances, made worse by a coal price that has roughly halved over the past four years.

    The need to dredge at least 3 million tonnes to expand Abbot Point has added to the environmental controversy, given the potential impact on the nearby Australia's World Heritage-listed reef park.

    "Citi is not involved and does not plan to be involved in any financing for the Abbot Point expansion," Citigroup director, corporate sustainability, Valerie Smith said in a letter to be released on Tuesday by the Rainforest Action Network..

    Morgan Stanley's executive director for risk management, Francesco Liberti, echoed the comments in a separate letter: "Morgan Stanley will not lend to or invest in the expansion of Abbot Point."

    Two other US banks, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, indicated they may also steer clear of the projects.

    JPMorgan Chase said it would not bankroll natural resource projects within a World Heritage site without prior agreement between UNESCO and the government, while Goldman Sachs said it avoided financing any project that "would significantly convert or degrade a critical natural habitat".

    The Queensland government has said the development of the Galilee Basin coal mines, including the rail and port facilities, would draw $28 billion in investment. The Abbot Point port expansion may cost at least $5.25 billion for the portion for just one of the mine developers, Adani Mining.


    Lengthening list

    The continued negative commentary from banks comes as Adani prepares to offer major tenders for some of the construction for its Carmichael coal mine and related operations within weeks.

    Citi and Morgan Stanley's decisions on the port add to a lengthening list of banks, including Deutsche Bank and HSBC, that have declared they will steer clear of what would be the world's largest new coal developments. Concerns also include the projects' likely greenhouse gas emissions, weighing against the possibility of cheaper electricity for India and other nations.

    Port developers agreed in September to seek an onshore site to dump the resulting dredge spoil from the planned expansion after widespread opposition to an off-shore site within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – despite approval from federal and state governments.

    Thomas Jacquot, a credit analyst with rating agency Standard & Poor's, said the pullback of more banks would add to the difficulties already faced by the mine developers.

    "The maths look challenging," Mr Jacquot said. "I'm ultimately very curious because the coal market is very depressed."

    The ports, mines and railway need to be viewed as a whole, and doubts about the port's prospects will have knock-on effects, he said. "Nobody's going to lend to the port unless you know there's funding for the railway and the mines as well."

    The projects' overall viability will hinge in part on whether Australian banks join the financing.

    The Commonwealth Bank told Fairfax Media it had yet to be approached by Adani or any other party seeking finance for the Galilee Basin mines and related infrastructure.


    A spokeswoman for NAB said the bank would apply a "robust due diligence process" to any major project.

  24. US banks baulk at Abbot Point coal port expansion

    ................Josh Euler, speaking on behalf of GVK and Hancock, said the proposed expansion had been through a comprehensive environmental assessment overseen by state and national governments, and work to develop the terminal would “meet all obligations relating to responsible environmental and social management practices.”

    Adani said the terminal was not in a World Heritage Area and the environmental approval was “among the most rigorous and stringent ever applied in Australia, the US or the rest of the world.” No funding had even been sought from Citibank, Goldman Sachs, or JPMorgan Chase, it added.

    Still, the banks’ letters add fuel to a burning debate in Australia over investment in major resource projects that opponents say run the risk of fuelling climate change by supplying coal-fired power stations and steel mills overseas, often in countries with weak emissions controls, such as China and India. The Australian National University triggered a political storm this month after divesting its investment portfolio of shares in several large energy and resource companies, citing climate change risks.

    In May, Deutsche Bank said it wouldn’t offer funding for Abbot Point after UNESCO condemned a government plan — since reversed — to allow mud and rock dredged from the sea floor during any expansion of the port to be dumped in waters near the reef. US banks join a group that also includes HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland in expressing an unwillingness to get involved if asked.

    The Galilee Basin could see Australia surpass neighbouring Indonesia as the world’s top coal exporter. Mr Abbott said this month that coal would remain the world’s main energy source for decades when opening a new $3.9 billion coal mining venture in the Bowen Basin, south of Abbot Point.

  25. Forget the Green Tape................

    Running out red tape is a growth industry

    What industry sector employs more Australians than construction, education or manufacturing, and three times as many as mining? What function costs private industry and government a combined $250 billion a year?

    Few would have guessed compliance – the red tape industry. And it's booming.

    It now employs more than 1 million people and is growing at a faster rate than any of the above-mentioned sectors. But not all growth is good and the red tape rules and compliance costs are wiping out many of the positive productivity gains that have come about over the past 10 years from the digital revolution.

    When overused it is a conservative monster that strangles innovation and comes at a huge cost to the economy and its productivity.

    Most will be familiar with the Abbott government's crusade against red tape. Abbott has just completed his second stage audit and cull of a series of federal rules and regulations and the organisations that administer them. While the public should remain wary that cuts to particular regulations are not politically motivated or result in more serious long-term problems, the general theme of reducing unnecessary regulation is laudable.

    But what has been achieved to date by the Abbott government is by no means comprehensive. In the five years to 2011, the public sector compliance workforce grew faster (16.0 per cent) than overall public sector employment (13.1 per cent).

    Thus there is plenty more to be done.

    However, a frightening report released this week by Deloitte Access Economics fingers the real red tape culprits – the private sector business community whose compliance costs leave the government looking like rank amateurs when it comes to creating and paying for what, in many cases, are unnecessary and unproductive self-imposed rules.

    The total private sector workforce grew by 10.4 per cent over that same five-year period; its compliance workers grew by 17.4 per cent.

    Ironically, the group that represents our very large companies, the Business Council of Australia, has been a flag-waver for the government's attempts to tackle red tape. The embarrassing reality is that it should be focusing on its own backyard.

    Strikingly, the cost of self-imposed rules created by the private sector is double that associated with government regulations, according to Deloitte Access Economics. The self-imposed rules of the private sector cost $155 billion a year: $21 billion to develop and administer, and a jaw-dropping $134 billion a year in compliance costs.

  26. Abbot Point: study on dumping of spoil in wetlands not required, Hunt says

    Environmental assessment will instead use paperwork from previous plan to dump spoil in Great Barrier Reef marine park

    The federal government has waived the need for a full environmental impact study into the dumping of dredging spoil onto sensitive wetlands under the plan to expand the Abbot Point coal port in Queensland.

    The federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, has agreed to a request by Queensland’s deputy premier, Jeff Seeney, to assess the controversial project using only paperwork from a discredited original plan to dump spoil in Great Barrier Reef waters.

    The Australian Greens and environmental groups accused Hunt of bowing to pressure to fast-track the project while ignoring its effect on the internationally significant Caley Valley wetlands.

    His decision came the same day Indian coal and steel conglomerate Adani revealed it had hired US bank Morgan Stanley to examine the potential sale of part of its share in the project.

    The bank itself had expressed concerns about the negative impact of the port’s expansion on the World Heritage-listed reef through an increase in the number of coal ships passing through its waters.

    The United Nations’ World Heritage Committee, which has criticised the port expansion, will decide next year if the reef is to be deemed “in danger”.

    The long-term welfare of the reef is a political dilemma for governments eager to expand the port so that it can be used for exports from the Galilee basin, which stands to make Australia the world‘s biggest coal exporter.

    Environmental groups said Hunt’s decision meant there would be no proper canvassing of the impact of dumping 3m tonnes of acidic seabed waste onto wetlands which act as a nursery for fish and 40,000 birds, some endangered.

    The plan to dump spoil onshore came after the Queensland government backflipped on the original proposal, which eventually drew opposition from inside federal government ranks.

    The Greens’ environment spokeswoman, Larissa Waters, said the disposal of spoil in the wetlands was “the second cheapest, dirtiest option after dumping the sludge in reef waters”.

    “The Abbott and Newman governments realised that the community was not going to let them dump dredge spoil into the Great Barrier Reef so now they’ve moved on to the second dirtiest option and are closing their eyes to its environmental impacts,” she said.

  27. Sunrise gas gains momentum

    Growing signs of a breakthrough in the stalemate around Woodside Petroleum’s Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea have raised hopes that the $US13 billion project may soon begin to move toward development.

    1. The impossible dream which is Sunrise LNG

      Monday, 3 November 2014

      IT would be good for everyone if the Greater Sunrise gas project was being revived, but soon after Slugcatcher read the latest reports about the gasfield he filed them in the “not bloody likely” tray where everything to do with Sunrise has resided for the past 40 years.

  28. BP spill left 'bathtub ring' of oil across more than 1,200 square miles of Gulf seafloor, new study says

    Scientists have found evidence of a "bathtub ring" of oil particles from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill covering more than 1,200 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico's seafloor, according to a study published online Monday (Oct. 27) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    A team of scientists with the University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-Irvine, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute tested more than 3,000 samples of sediment taken from 534 locations in the Gulf for the chemical hepane, a constituent of crude oil that was found in the oil released from BP's Macondo well.
    The oil was deposited in two ways, according to the paper: " a 'bathtub ring' formed from an oil-rich layer of water" that lay along the Gulf's continental slope at a depth of a half-mile to 4/5ths of a mile; and a "'fallout plume' where suspended oil particles sank to underlying sediment" that was as much as a mile deep."We also suggest that a significant quantity of oil was deposited on the ocean floor outside this area but so far has evaded detection because of its heterogeneous spatial distribution," the paper concluded. The greatest amounts of oil were seen near the Macondo well and in areas just west of the well, according to maps of the contamination, and overlap with several deepwater coral reefs that other researchers have concluded were damaged by oil from the BP well.


    The new report was immediately criticized by BP, which contends the hepane found by the researchers could just as easily have come from natural petroleum seeps found throughout the Gulf.

    "The authors failed to identify the source of the oil, leading them to grossly overstate the amount of residual Macondo oil on the sea floor and the geographic area in which it is found," BP said in a statement released Monday.


    Valentine and his colleagues analyzed how the hopane was distributed "and found that it was concentrated in ways that are clearly attributable to the Macondo well.

    "First, the hopane was concentrated in the top half-inch of the seafloor, indicating that it was deposited recently, and not from a long-term process like natural seepage," he said.

    "Second, we found that hopane concentrations were much higher in the vicinity of the Macondo well, compared to areas further away," Valentine said. "This allowed us to define a background concentration of hopane and an anomaly in the region of the Well. The average hopane concentrations within 25 miles of the well were about 10 times higher than samples collected more than 25 miles, showing a clear association with the Macondo Well.

    "Lastly, we looked at the patchiness of the oil, with the hypothesis that particles/droplets from the spill would fall in (a) highly patchy pattern - which is exactly what we observed," he said.

    "The concentration difference over a few feet was sometimes 100-fold, consistent with the recent fallout. These lines of evidence all point back to the Macondo Well as the source."


    The study does validate earlier research that long-lived deep water coral was coated and likely damaged by the spill, Reddy said. But Reddy and Valentine said there are still questions about other ecological issues that deep.

  29. Darwin port with it's land backed and floating wharfs really is the northern centre for oil and gas projects.

    All this in the last few months.



    19 Aug 2014 -


    Floating shipping port launched in Darwin Harbour to build $34 billion gas project

    10 Oct 2014


    Shell opens $29M Darwin supply base

    Friday, 31 October 2014


    "“We see value for the industry in that, instead of equipment and materials being trucked from Fremantle to the Territory, it can now be shipped direct to Darwin. We then have the transport and logistics support to get it out into these remote onshore fields.”"



    19 Aug 2014 -

    The Darwin Marine Supply Base, a new purpose-built specialist oil and gas facility at Darwin Port, was officially opened by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Hon. Adam Giles at a ceremony on site today.

    International oil and gas services company ASCO has a 20-year contract with the Territory Government to manage the supply base to support Northern Australia’s growth as an international hub for the oil and gas industry.

    The supply base is expected to provide long-term benefits to the Territory and Australia’s oil and gas industry with activity in the Timor Sea set to expand significantly in the years ahead.

    “We are very pleased with how things have been running since we had our first vessel, the Lady Melinda, tie up at the supply base at the end of June,” ASCO Australasia CEO Matt Thomas said.

    “Since then we have had more than 20 vessels come into the base and we are happy with how smoothly operations have gone and how well the layout of the supply base works.”

    Mr Thomas said a number of international oil and gas companies, including ConocoPhillips, Eni, INPEX and Shell, would be supporting their offshore operations from Darwin’s East Arm Logistics Precinct and the supply base would be the critical link in their supply chains.

    Key features of the $110million Darwin Marine Supply Base include:
    •3 working berths
    •4000m2 of laydown alongside each berth
    •efficient pumping rates for fuel and water
    •heavy lift berth capable of operating with a 600 tonne crane
    •open and undercover storage
    •office space and facilities for external workers
    •dangerous goods and waste transit bunds

    A drilling mud plant will also be relocated to the facility, allowing mud to be pumped straight onto service vessels utilising the base’s purpose-built berths.

    ASCO is a global leader in oil and gas field support services, specialising in marine supply base management. The company also manages bases in the UK, Norway, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Azerbaijan and Eastern Canada.


    Mr Thomas is confident it is not only project operators working in the Timor Sea region who will recognise the schedule and cost advantages in using the new facility.

    “The Territory’s substantial onshore gas potential is at an early stage, and we are now well positioned to service the scheduled expansion in onshore drilling activity.”

    According to the NT Department of Mines and Energy, committed onshore petroleum exploration expenditure to 2018 is valued at $168m. Work commitments for the period include 30 exploration wells and the acquisition of more than 5700 line kilometres of 2D seismic data.

    “We see value for the industry in that, instead of equipment and materials being trucked from Fremantle to the Territory, it can now be shipped direct to Darwin. We then have the transport and logistics support to get it out into these remote onshore fields.”

    Offshore activity is also expected to grow. According to the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, investment in LNG, gas and oil projects continues to be the main driver of resources and energy investment in Australia. BREE states that 14 LNG, gas and oil projects at the Committed Stage have a combined value of $197billion, or 86% of committed investment in the Australian resources sector. In addition, Publicly Announced petroleum projects have a combined CAPEX of $28b-$30b.

  31. Floating shipping port launched in Darwin Harbour to build $34 billion gas project

    10 Oct 2014

    In an Australian first, a large floating shipping port is operating in Darwin Harbour to assist in building the INPEX gas plant and pipeline.

    The 'Hydro Deck', which can sustain up to eight-metre tidal variations, will unload equipment from ships along the shoreline to greatly speed-up the construction of the $34 billion Ichthys LNG project.

    Nishant D'Souza, from AG&P ALE Ventures, says the deck uses a water ballast and air tank system to maintain buoyancy control.

    "It's essentially a large mobile port.

    "It is used to offload very large prefabricated modules in areas of extreme tidal variations such as around Darwin Harbour," he said.

    The large floating device, which was built in the Philippines, measures 140 metres in length and can hold 22,000 tonnes of equipment.

    "The ship docks alongside the Hydro Deck, which in turn is docked alongside the shore.

    "While the tide is varying, up and down, modules from the ship can be loaded onto the Hydro Deck, as the ship is tracking the Hydro Deck's trajectory at that point of time," he said.

    Mr D'Souza says the mobile port will be leased to INPEX for several years.

  32. Shell opens $29M Darwin supply base

    Friday, 31 October 2014

    RESOURCES giant Shell has opened a $29 million onshore supply base in Darwin to support operations at its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas project.

    Designed and constructed by Decmil, the base consists of a 6500 square metre warehouse that includes climate controlled storage and office facilities to support base operations. It also boasts of work and storage yards specifically designed to house a range of spare parts and equipment to support Prelude.

    “The Darwin Offshore Supply Base is a vital hub for Prelude, playing a critical role in the ongoing operations and maintenance of the facility,” Shell Australia country chair Andrew Smith said at the opening ceremony.

    The base will also create employment opportunities targeted at disadvantaged people in the Northern Territory through a joint training program between Shell, the NT government, Charles Darwin University and Group Training NT.

    “The Prelude to the Future program will employ 20 Territorians as auto-mechanic apprentices through Group Training NT and support their training through Charles Darwin University,” NT Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

    “The program also includes six weeks work experience and ongoing mentoring for 18 months.

    “Automotive mechanics are identified as a skills shortage area in the Territory.

    “Given that this is an occupation that underpins the delivery of most major project activities, it is expected that the occupation will be subject to increased demand in coming years.”

    Shell and the NT government have each invested $400,000 to fund the training program.

    Eligible applicants include Indigenous Territorians, minority groups, the long-term unemployed, people experiencing financial hardship, trade assistants seeking to obtain higher skills and school leavers.

    The first Prelude spare parts are due to arrive at the supply base in coming weeks.


    "Mr Coleman said Woodside was yet to work out its supply base requirements but pointed to Broome and Derby as likely locations, particularly for Browse’s helicopter service. He ruled out James Price Point."


    "Woodside Petroleum's nascent ambitions to develop a $C15 billion ($15.14 billion) liquefied natural gas venture in western Canada have received a boost after British Columbia halved a proposed tax on gas export projects – but the same move could hinder its plans for the Browse floating project off Western Australia."



    1. This really leaves Barnett "swinging a bit high and dry" all over again.

      Barnett sticks to Woodside base threat

      April 8, 2014

      WA faces a big battle with an aggressive Northern Territory Government to secure the economic benefits of a supply base to service the Browse Basin.

      ........ he issued a rebuke to the Woodside consortium and broader industry, saying he understood why the consortium ditched the James Price Point onshore option for FLNG, though it left his Government "swinging a bit high and dry".

      "Sometimes people talk in an Australian context about sovereign risk," Mr Barnett yesterday told 3500 oil and gas executives during the opening session of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Perth.

      "Well, there is an opposite to that and that is the risk government endures when it pursues (projects) in good faith."

      The Premier did not cave in unconditionally, reiterating WA would not sign over two of the seven relevant Browse retention leases unless the consortium delivered a supply base and also provided a domestic gas solution.

      Mr Barnett insists the supply base be located in WA, which requires a substantial industry-funded investment at a time when Darwin is fast emerging as the default supply base option on the back of supporting Inpex's Ichthys and Royal Dutch Shell's Prelude developments.


      August 20, 2013

      Conservation group prepares for legal fight

      Meanwhile a conservation group has vowed to fight in the courts any attempts to industrialise WA's Kimberley region, including the premier's plans to establish a gas sector supply base at James Price Point.

      Woodside announced yesterday it would seek approval from its Browse project joint venture partners for a floating development, a day after the state environmental approval for the now-abandoned onshore proposal was deemed invalid.

      And later, Liberal leader Colin Barnett told a parliamentary committee he "wouldn't anticipate major opposition from the Broome community'' for a supply base at James Price Point.

      But Peter Robertson of The Wilderness Society, which challenged the now discredited environmental approval, said Mr Barnett would have a battle on his hands.

      "We will fight it all the way,'' Mr Robertson said.

      While a supply base would have a lesser impact than a multi-user gas processing hub, it would still be "completely unacceptable'' in an ecologically sensitive area.

      The Premier is confident that much of the documentation from the original Browse environmental approval application will still stand, requiring a reasonably easy resubmission for the supply base plan.

      He has suggested it wouldn't take as long a second time around, also indicating an appeal against the Supreme Court decision was unlikely.

      Mr Robertson says the state government risked the application being knocked back, throwing good taxpayer money after bad.

      Alternatively, it would have to start from scratch, a suggestion Mr Barnett has already rejected.

      Mr Robertson said the Premier had an unhealthy obsession with the Browse project and was trying to save face.

      "It really is quite difficult the situation he's got himself in.''

  33. China and Argentina chase fracking boom.


    Sinopec Eyes Shale Boost, Debt Reduction with $17.5B Stake-Sale Cash

    by Reuters

    Charlie Zhu
    ...............China, believed to hold the world's largest technically recoverable shale resources, is hoping to replicate the shale boom that has transformed the energy landscape of the United States.

    Output at Sinopec's Fuling shale gas field in the southwestern province of Sichuan - China's first major shale project - had hit 3.2 million cubic metres per day at end-June.

    The Fuling field, with estimated reserves of 2.1 trillion cubic meters, will reach an annual capacity of 5 billion cubic metres by end-2015, and the capacity should double by the end of 2017, Sinopec chairman Fu has said.

    The first phase of the project entails total investment of $4 billion alone, Barclays bank has estimated.


    Argentine Congress Passes Law Aimed At Attracting Oil Investment

    by Reuters

    ...............The law, passed by a 130 to 116 vote in the lower house, cuts the minimum investment needed for companies to be exempt from import controls to $250 million from $1 billion.

    The same level of investment would also allow oil and gas producers to get around foreign exchange controls by holding on to the hard currency earned from 20 percent of their exports.

    "The desired horizon for Argentina is only possible if there are investments," said Mario Metaza, a lawmaker for the ruling coalition, also president of the Congress' energy commission.

    The Senate approved the bill earlier this month. Argentina needs to ramp up production from its vast but barely tapped Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposits in order to reverse a gaping $7 billion energy deficit that is draining foreign reserves.


    Developing Vaca Muerta in the shadow of the Andes mountains and securing energy independence will cost up to $200 billion in the next 10 years, state-controlled energy firm YPF says.


    1. Mozambique LNG’s competitiveness attracts Asian buyers

      Asian countries have been reaching deals to import LNG from Mozambique, keeping the proceedings under the radar.

      Five deals with flexible terms for 20 years have been preliminarily reached one of which is the deal with CNOOC of China for 2.5 mtpa/year. The Mozambique LNG project is targeting Japanese small-scale buyers, while Thailand’s PTT struck a similar deal to the one with CNOOC. Indonesia’s Pertamina is looking for a 1 mtpa/year deal with talks going on with an Indian company as well as UAE. according to industries sources close to the talks, reports Reuters.

      Getting this deals wrapped up is crucial for Anadarko to secure bank financing for its projects. Anadarko Petroleum is building the first two LNG plants in Mozambique.

      Standard Bank believes Anadarko’s initial project will add $67 billion to government revenue over its 30-year life.

      Steven Hoyle, Anadarko’s vice president for LNG told Reuters that LNG cost base and pricing from Mozambique project is competitive in today’s market which is encouraging investments.

      Mitsui, Bharat PetroResources, Mozambique’s state-run ENH, Oil India Limited and PTT are Anadarko’s partners in the project.

  34. Another one of Bergman's flops.

    Pluton goes under

    Nick Evans November 3, 2014

    The iron ore price crunch claimed its first WA victim on Friday, with about 60 jobs on the line after creditors called in receivers to Pluton Resources.

    It is understood mining contractor Watpac suspended operations on the weekend at Pluton's high-grade Cockatoo Island iron ore mine after China's Rizhao Port Group Logistics appointed FTI Consulting as receivers. Watpac is owed about $19 million for Cockatoo Island work, according to Pluton disclosures.

    Watpac would not comment yesterday, but is understood to have temporarily stood down up to 60 workers as it seeks clarity on whether work can continue at the mine.

    It is believed Pluton was seeking advice over the weekend on the validity of the appointment, and could seek an injunction preventing seizure of the company by receivers on Monday.

    Two weeks ago, Pluton was celebrating the close of a $48 million capital raising, including a cash injection and debt restructure.

    Last week its estranged Chinese joint venture partner at Cockatoo Island, Wise Energy Group, moved to oust Pluton as manager of the project.

    Pluton advised the market of the crisis late on Thursday, in response to _WestBusiness _questions about the termination notice, saying it did not believe Wise's move was legally enforceable. Pluton has been brawling with Wise over payment of costs at the project. Pluton believes Wise owes it about $20 million in joint project costs.

    At the time Pluton was also facing legal threats from Rizhao, a major customer and creditor, over allegations it diverted shipments due for delivery to a Rizhao nominee to unknown buyers.

    Last Tuesday, lawyers acting for Rizhao wrote to Pluton and Wise threatening legal action if an explanation for the missing shipment was not supplied.

    On Friday, FTI Consulting's Ian Francis and Michael Ryan were appointed receivers, according to ASIC documents.

    Sources say the move prompted a stand-off at Pluton's office, after senior management queried the validity of the appointment and called police, seeking to have FTI staff removed from the premises.

    A police spokeswoman yesterday confirmed officers attended a West Perth office on Friday afternoon.

    She said no arrests were made and no offences committed.

    Pluton has not released its 2013 annual report and financial accounts. Pro-forma figures released for the recent capital raising showed that at March 31, it had $57.8 million in short-term liabilities.

    Pluton is the first WA victim of the 40 per cent slump in iron ore prices this year.

    In June IMX Resources called in administrators to its 51 per cent owned Cairn Hill iron ore mine in South Australia, and NT producer Western Desert Resources slipped under the waves early in September.

    Pluton shares were suspended in May and last traded at 3.4¢.

  35. Shell to delay Browse LNG investment decision as oil prices fall

    The Australian |
    November 01, 2014

    ENERGY giant Shell says the current depressed oil price environment could delay an investment decision on the Woodside Petroleum-operated Browse floating LNG project off Western Australia and has also cooled on selling its remaining Woodside stake.

    And in more bad news for the Australian LNG export outlook, the oil giant has cast further doubt on the stated timetable of the Chevron-operated Gorgon LNG project that is being built on Barrow Island for $54 billion, and in which Shell has a 25 per cent stake, saying significant revenue is unlikely until 2017 or 2018.

    In an earnings call on Thursday night, Shell chief financial officer Simon Henry said an investment decision on Browse, which would use Shell’s floating LNG technology, was unlikely next year.

    “On some of the non-operated projects, such or Browse or Abadi (an Indonesian floating LNG project), I think in the environment, they may get pushed further out,” Mr Henry said when asked what projects Shell could approve next calendar year.

    Woodside this year pushed back a decision on Browse, from a mid-2015 target to the second half of next year, but Mr Henry’s comments indicate Shell is not on board with this.

    Shell — which owns a 26 per cent stake in Browse — has been focusing on reducing costs and slimming its portfolio and capital spending.

    Mr Henry noted that the recent $US25 a barrel slide in the oil price, if sustained for a year, represented $US8bn a year in reduced cashflow for Shell.

    Shell had planned to sell down its remaining 13.6 per cent Woodside stake through a Woodside share buyback that would have reduced the oil giant’s stake to less than 5 per cent.

    But this was voted down in August by shareholders that believed Shell was receiving preferential treatment.

    “The actual Woodside share price has fallen quite a lot since then, so our appetite to resurrect (the sale) may have declined,” Mr Henry said.

    Like most oil stocks, Woodside shares have been hit by the rapid fall in the oil price, but they are only down 4 per cent since the buyback deal was announced.

    On Gorgon, where Shell has previously questioned Chevron’s latest budget and timing assumptions, Mr Henry gave no indication it was warming to Chevron’s claims that first LNG will be produced in the middle of next year. “Gorgon (and other projects) — they’re all really contributing materially to revenue in the period 2017, 2018,” Mr Henry said when asked about what projects Shell would start production from next year.


    "I'm so worried about contamination. Gates could be left open into ponds, cattle could get poisoned. It only needs one animal to be contaminated and to go into the beef chain and the whole Australian beef industry could be put into jeopardy overnight," he said."


    Allowing coal seem gas wells on property 'a mistake', Qld farmer says, amid Senate committee inquiry

    They rise from clearings on Allan Nothdurft's farm and are surrounded by fences and signs warning that trespassers face prosecution.

    "We had a couple of quiet years and now it's crazy since the gas come. Just no quiet, no privacy" Mr Nothdurft said.

    Mr Nothdurft and his wife Narelle have seven coal seam gas wells on their property south-west of Chinchilla on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

    Each well occupies a clearing about the size of half a football field.

    For each well, the family is paid $265 a year by coal seam gas operator QGC and another $12,000 is paid annually for land access and usage.

    "It adds up to bugger all, especially for the amount of drama we have to go through," Mr Nothdurft said.

    In a statement, QGC defended what it pays the family.


    Other landholders on the western Darling Downs have resisted the gas companies and their lure of a limitless water supply.

    "Once you take anything off them, that's a contract and you're locked in. I've never taken anything off them," western Darling Downs grazier Joe Hill said.

    The grazier has seen plenty of dry times on his 800-hectare property, which spreads across the parched plains between Chinchilla and Miles.

    With the drought hitting hard, some of Mr Hill's neighbours have eagerly taken up the offer of water from Origin Energy's nearby CSG water treatment plants, but the proud Angus cattle breeder says fears for his herd were behind his decision to knock back the treated water.

    "I'm so worried about contamination. Gates could be left open into ponds, cattle could get poisoned. It only needs one animal to be contaminated and to go into the beef chain and the whole Australian beef industry could be put into jeopardy overnight," he said.

    The coal seam gas companies say their treated water has had all chemicals removed, meaning it meets stringent safety standards and is suitable for irrigation, but Mr Hill will not budge.

    He has even erected a sign at his front gate warning the CSG companies they will be prosecuted if they set foot on his place, so QGC has run pipelines along the northern and western sides of his property, while in the distance a big flare burns out of a compressor station.

    Senate Committee to inquire into project approvals

    Approvals for coal seam gas projects in Queensland have long been a source of bitter debate.

    Now a Senate Select Committee will "inquire into and report on the adequacy of Commonwealth oversight of the approval of coal seam gas projects in Queensland".

  37. Far north Qld council bans CSG

    A far north Queensland council has banned future coal seam gas mining in the region amid fears it will affect water quality.

    Douglas Shire Council lies to the north of Cairns and includes the towns of Mossman, Port Douglas and takes in the Daintree area.

    Councillors voted on Tuesday to ban any future coal seam gas projects in the region.

    Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said there had been no CSG sites proposed in the area but the council wanted to take a proactive stance against the industry.

    "Communities that really pull together make it far more difficult for mining companies to enter our shire boundaries when they know that the community is opposed to that," she told ABC Radio.

    "We're very concerned about the impact on water quality and we do have some of our rivers and streams that do have origin from outside of our shire."

    Ms Leu said the council would encourage neighbouring shires to oppose the CSG industry, including calling on them to back efforts by the anti-CSG lobby group Lock the Gate.

    "We're going to be encouraging people to sign what's called a call to country, which is found on the Lock the Gate website," she said.

    "We're also sending letters to our local state and federal members and petitioning the prime minister."

    1. Texas oil town makes history as residents say no to fracking

      •Denton, Texas, is probably most heavily fracked town in US
      •Oil and gas industry asks court for immediate injunction
      •Denton, slacker capital of the American south-west, grows up

      The Texas town where America’s oil and natural gas boom began has voted to ban fracking, in a stunning rebuke to the industry.

      Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas.

      Organisers said they hoped it would give a boost to anti-fracking activists in other states. More than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of an oil or gas well.

      “It should send a signal to industry that if the people in Texas – where fracking was invented – can’t live with it, nobody can,” said Sharon Wilson, the Texas organiser for EarthWorks, who lives in Denton.

      An energy group on Wednesday asked for an immediate injunction to keep the ban from being enforced. Tom Phillips, an attorney for the Texas Oil and Gas association, told the Associated Press the courts must “give a prompt and authoritative answer” on whether the ban violates the Texas state constitution.

      Athens in Ohio and San Benito and Mendocino counties in California also voted to ban fracking on Tuesday. Similar measures were defeated in Gates Mills, Kent and Youngstown, Ohio, as well as Santa Barbara, California.

      Denton remains a solidly Republican town, and oil companies reportedly spent $700,000 to defeat the ban, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle – nearly $6 for every resident.

      “It was more like David and Godzilla then David and Goliath,” Wilson said. But she said residents were fed up with the noise and disruption of fracking, and the constant traffic and fumes from wells and trucks operating in residential neighbourhoods.

      The town is probably the most heavily fracked in the country.

      The industry has drilled wells on church property, school grounds and on the campus of the University of North Texas, right next to the tennis courts and across the road from the sports stadium (and a stand of giant wind turbines).

      In Texas, as in much of America, property owners do not always own the “mineral rights” – the rights to underground resources – so typically have limited say over how they are developed.

      It is also often the case that owners of the mineral rights – who profit directly from fracking – no longer live in the area.

      There are already hundreds of wells within Denton city limits, and nearly a third of the town is permitted for fracking. Wilson and other local activists from the Denton Drilling Awareness Group had spent years trying to get local officials to restrict fracking, but those measures proved ineffective.

      “We did an ordinance but the industry refused to follow it and threatened law suits at every turn. They said they didn’t have to follow the ordinance because of the way the permitting was done,” Wilson said. “There was just no way out of it except to ban it.”

      The ban will almost certainly result in a wave of lawsuits from oil companies as well as mineral rights owners, Wilson said. Republican officials in Texas said they would try to overturn the ban in the state legislature.

      “As the senior energy regulator in Texas, I am disappointed that Denton voters fell prey to scare tactics and mischaracterisations of the truth in passing the hydraulic fracturing ban,” the railroad commissioner, David Porter, a Republican, told the Denton Record-Chronicle. “Bans based on misinformation – instead of science and fact – potentially threaten this energy renaissance and as a result, the wellbeing of all Texans.”

  38. Mineralogy mine bid rejected after native title ignored

    The Australian |
    November 05, 2014

    CLIVE Palmer’s private mining vehicle, Mineralogy, has again ­inflamed tensions with Aboriginal people in the Pilbara after it failed to seek permission from native title claimants before entering their land to seek new mining tenements.

    A West Australian magistrate, Stephen Wilson, ruled that Mineralogy’s application for a mining ­licence was “fatally flawed” and would be rejected because it had failed to comply with the Native Title Act and the state Mining Act.

    Mineralogy — which is owned by Mr Palmer, the federal MP for Fairfax — applied for the mining licence in 2010, but this was ­challenged by the Kuruma Marthudunera native title claimant group.

    Mr Palmer, who stood down as a director of Mineralogy this year, was a board member when the company applied for the licence.

    The Pilbara indigenous group alleged Mineralogy’s proposed ­activities on its land would affect its heritage rights as well as the ­native flora and fauna.

    Several other mining comp­anies, including rival magnate ­Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, also challenged Mineralogy, arguing that it failed to obtain a permit before entering the Kuruma Marthudunera land.

    But Mineralogy said the native title claim — which was registered in 1999 — did not cover the area it had marked out and it was therefore not required to have a permit.

    Mr Wilson, sitting as the WA mining warden, said in his judgment: “I reject any submission by Mineralogy that it was not obliged or required under the act to obtain a permit to enter before entering upon the land for the purposes of marking out the application for the (licence) that was the subject of the native title claim.

    “The (Native Title Act) requires the same procedural rights be ­afforded to native title holders or claimants as private land holders.”

    Simon Hawkins, the chief executive of the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, said it was the third time that Mineralogy had been in front of the mining warden on the same charge in the past 10 years.

    Mineralogy had “blatantly disregarded” the Native Title Act and the Mining Act, Mr Hawkins said.

    YMAC, on behalf of the native title group, would seek costs against Mineralogy at a hearing on November 14.

    Previous findings by magistrates include that Mr Palmer’s company and staff exhibited “a sense of absolute entitlement in relation to mining endeavours” and “adopted an unduly confrontational approach”. One of Mr Palmer’s top executives was found to have been an unreliable witness and the architect of “misleading” sworn documents.

    A Kuruma Marthudunera elder, Matthew Sampi, told The Australian this year that Mr Palmer had told Aboriginal leaders he would establish health services in the Pilbara. “He seemed real good in the ­beginning, saying he was going to help the Aboriginal people in the area. They disturbed special places where there used to be ancient tools.”

  39. CLEANING up existing coal-fired power stations will go a long way to helping Australia meet its carbon emission targets, Environment Minister Greg Hunt says


    The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, has stood by his defence of coal, saying it is the foundation of Australia’s foreseeable future, just days after a United Nations climate report called for an urgent reduction in carbon emissions.

    “For the foreseeable future coal is the foundation of our prosperity. Coal is the foundation of the way we live because you can’t have a modern lifestyle without energy,” the prime minister said on Tuesday.

    “You can’t have a modern economy without energy and for now and for the foreseeable future, the foundation of Australia’s energy needs will be coal. The foundation of the world’s energy needs will be coal.”


    Carbon capture and storage research budget slashed despite PM's coal focus

    Tony Abbott has trumpeted coal as the foundation of Australia’s energy needs but CCS programs have lost $460m in funding

    The government has cut almost half a billion dollars from research into carbon capture and storage – which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems crucial for continued use of coal – despite the prime minister insisting coal is the “foundation of our prosperity”.

    Tony Abbott said on Tuesday: “For now and for the foreseeable future, the foundation of Australia’s energy needs will be coal. The foundation of the world’s energy needs will be coal.”

    The IPCC synthesis report, released on Monday, found that to limit global warming to 2C “the share of low‐carbon electricity supply (comprising renewable energy, nuclear and carbon capture and storage) needs to increase from its current share of approximately 30% to more than 80% by 2050 and 90% by 2100, and fossil fuel power generation without CCS [carbon capture and storage] is phased out almost entirely by 2100”.

    In the budget the government cut $459.3m over three years from its carbon capture and storage flagship program, leaving $191.7m to continue existing projects for the next seven years. The program had already been cut by the previous Labor government and much of the funding remained unallocated.

    The coal industry has “paused” a levy on black coal producers, which was supposed to build a $1bn industry fund to also finance research and demonstration into clean coal technology. It cited low coal prices for the halt. $250m has been spent from the fund on demonstration plants and another $46m worth of grants are under assessment.

    The objectives of Coal21, set up in 2006, have also been changed to allow the industry to use funding already collected to promote the use of coal. Its constitution now allows money to be spent on “promoting the use of coal both within Australia and overseas and promoting the economic and social benefits of the coal industry”. It is unclear whether any has been spent in this way.

    Tony Wood, the energy program director at the Grattan Institute, said: “CCS is the only way Australia, and the world, can keep using coal and also do what it needs to do about climate change, but neither industry nor government seem to be serious about doing anything about it.”

    1. Short-term political fixes pose threat to environment and future prosperity, scientists warn

      Some of the nation's top scientists have warned short-term political fixes pose a threat to both the environment and the nation's future prosperity.

      The first major report in more than a decade from the influential Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists suggests the Federal Government eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and provide tax breaks to landowners who work to protect threatened species and ecosystems.

      "We're increasingly seeing the consequences of our current short-termism and the cost that will impose on this society in the future, because, in the long run, environmental degradation will come at an enormous cost," Wentworth Group director, Peter Cosier, said.

      The report included contributions from former treasury secretary Ken Henry and Clean Energy Finance Corporation director Martijn Wilder.

      The group said the Abbott Government's tentative steps towards reforming the tax system provided an opportunity to better protect the environment.

      "Tax is an effective way [to protect the environment] because it's something you have to pay and it's a measure which governments use all the time to pull triggers in the economy," Mr Wilder said.

      "There's an opportunity here to look at our tax system over the long-term to make it such that it has measures that are beneficial to the environment and the economy."


      The report recommends removing fossil fuel subsidies and instead paying farmers, indigenous communities and other landholders to restore and protect environmental assets.

      "A farmer may take particular steps to look after and manage their land in a more sustainable fashion and by doing that they may be rewarded with some sort of tax concession," Mr Wilder said.

      Professor Bruce Thom, a founding member of the group, said with climate change predicted to bring more extreme heat, bushfires, and damaging storms, smarter planning decisions need to be made now.

      "We spend 10 times more on recovery after a disaster than we spend on mitigating their impacts," Professor Thom said.

      He said he believed preparing communities for climate change has not been well coordinated to date between different tiers of government.

      Professor Thom said recent discussions about tax and federalism should be expanded to include the management of the natural environment.

      "The Federal Government is the driver of the economy and the states are the deliverers," he said.

      "We feel that all three levels of government must be closely working together in better managing our natural capital for the long-term future."

      The authors cite advice from the Productivity Commission, Treasury, and the Garnaut Review that an emissions trading scheme remains the most cost-effective way for Australia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      A copy of the Wentworth Group's report will be sent to every state environment minister and every federal MP.

  40. Fossil fuel ads approved by Brisbane airport despite political intent

    Activist groups hoping to attract the attention of G20 delegates had their adverts declined – but Chevron and the mining-funded Reef Facts campaign were given the green light

    Three advertisements have been banned from appearing in Brisbane airport because they were deemed “too political” – but it has emerged that similar material from energy giant Chevron and the Queensland government’s controversial mining-funded Reef Facts campaign was approved.

    In the run-up to the G20 meeting in Brisbane this month, activist groups tried to place adverts inside the terminal, but were rebuffed by Ooh Media, the airport’s media buyer.

    As Guardian Australia revealed on Sunday, environment and development groups led by the WWF attempted to place a billboard ad depicting a farmer calling for action on climate change, featuring the words: “Action on climate change is #onmyagenda, Dear G20 leaders please put it on yours.”

    The groups agreed to remove the words “Dear G20 leaders”, but Ooh Media still rejected the new advert.

    On Tuesday it emerged that campaign group Transparency International had had its own billboard advertisement rejected for the same reasons – it was “too political”.

    Reading “Dirty money not welcome here. G20, it’s time to:”, the billboard was designed to urge global leaders to support anti-corruption principles being discussed at the summit.

    Again though, Brisbane rejected the advertisement, saying its policy did not allow billboards with a political intent.

    A spokeswoman said the policy ruled out advertising, whether by political parties, groups or individuals, that was “focused on a particular policy issue that is the subject of political contention”. There was no value judgment made about the message, she said.

    Also on Tuesday, civil society forum C20 was told that the airport would not carry its planned lightbox advertisements.

    “We can talk to leaders as an official engagement group, but it seems we can’t talk to the public,” C20 spokesman John Lindsay told reporters.

    But earlier this year the airport hosted adverts as part of a campaign by the Queensland government – funded by the Queensland Resources Council, a peak body representing mining and energy companies.

    The adverts pointed people to a government website which drew criticism for its selective use of statistics to imply that dredging, dumping and shipping were not having an adverse effect on the Great Barrier Reef.

    But the campaign was not considered too political under the airport’s policy.

    “Our judgment is that government advertising on government programs does not constitute advertising with a political intent,” a spokeswoman said.

    Likewise, adverts promoting Chevron’s “We Agree” campaign were not deemed too political and were allowed to be placed in the airport.

    According to Business Spectator, Brisbane airport’s head of corporate relations, Rachel Crowley, acknowledged that Chevron’s ads had a political purpose – but did not row back on the bans on the WWF, Transparency International and C20 displays.

  41. Oil swoons as oversupply fears extend losses

    Oil markets retreated from multi-year lows on Tuesday but still fell more than 2 per cent after Saudi Arabia cut export prices to the United States threatening to deepen a global supply glut that has driven prices down 30 per cent since June.

    US crude futures settled down $US1.59 at $US77.19 after reaching the lowest intraday price since October 2011 in the morning.

    The price of Brent for next-month delivery settled down $US1.96 at $US82.82 after touching its lowest point since October 2010.

    Refined product stocks jumped last week, surprising those analysts who expected declines, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute released on Tuesday after oil prices settled. Distillate fuels stockpiles rose by 155,000 barrels instead of the 1.8-million-barrel drop predicted in a Reuters poll of analysts. Gasoline stocks rose by 240,000 barrels despite an expected 400,000 barrel increase.

    US crude stocks fell 639,000 barrels last week to 374.9 million in the wake of the revved-up refinery output.

    On Monday, Saudi Arabia surprised the market by raising prices for Asia and Europe but cutting prices for US customers. Oil slid as much as $US2 a barrel in late trade, and the sell-off continued Tuesday, triggering technical sell-stops.

    "The Saudis have basically declared war on the US oil producers," said Phil Flynn at Price Futures Group. "I think they believe that the only way they're going to survive in the long term is to break the market in the short term."


    BHP Billiton tests US oil export ban

    Dow Jones |
    November 05, 2014

    BHP Billiton will soon sell US oil abroad without explicit permission from the US government, another sign that Washington’s decades-old federal ban on crude exports is crumbling.

    The Australian-based resources group’s (BHP) deal to sell about $US50 million of ultralight oil from Texas to foreign buyers without formal government approval is likely to be only the first of many such moves as energy companies seek new markets and higher prices for the surge of crude now pumped in the US.

    BHP said it had signed an agreement to sell 600,000 barrels of oil that hasn’t gone through the traditional refining process that turns oil into gasoline and other fuels. The company declined to identify the buyers for the ultralight oil, known as condensate. The few similar cargoes that have been exported with government approval have gone to Asia and Europe.


    How blue skies for Barack Obama in Beijing help to cut iron ore prices

    ..................The raw material used for steel collapsed into a bear market this year as Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton and Vale expanded supplies, spurring a global glut just as economic growth in China slowed. Asia's biggest economy will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the capital from November 7-12, prompting authorities to order factory shutdowns to try to ensure clean air and blue skies for the event.


    The global market needs to absorb a surplus of about 110 million tonnes next year, from 60 million tonnes in 2014, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in an October 23 report. The collapse in prices may deepen as global supply increases and steel-demand growth slows, according to Moody's Investors Service.

    Iron ore shipped to China from Australia's Port Hedland climbed to 31.7 million tonnes last month from 29.8 million in September and 25.2 million a year earlier, data showed Tuesday. The port handles output from BHP, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia's third-largest producer, and Atlas Iron. Total shipments last month were a record 37.5 million tonnes.

    China's manufacturing slowed further in October as a property slump and slowdown in investment growth put the world's second-largest economy on course for the slowest full-year growth since 1990. The economy expanded 7.3 per cent on-year in the third quarter, the weakest pace in more than five years.

    1. Shale 'Sweet Spots' Still Viable At Current Prices

      by Karen Boman

      Rigzone Staff
      Tuesday, November 04, 2014

      Much of the ongoing U.S. unconventional oil activity should continue if the Brent crude oil price remains in the low to mid-$80 per barrel range, but companies operating outside of unconventional ”sweet spots” could be pinched if oil prices continue to fall, according to a recent article by Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA).


      TransCanada Boosts Keystone XL Cost Nearly 50% To $7.02B

      Nov 4 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp, Canada's No.2 pipeline company, on Tuesday raised estimated capital costs for its controversial Keystone XL project to C$8 billion ($7.02 billion) from an initial projection of C$5.4 billion, citing lengthy delays.

      Keystone XL, which would carry as much as 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has been awaiting U.S. presidential permit for more than six years amid bitter opposition from environmental groups.

      However, with Republicans expected to make major gains and possibly even recapture the Senate in U.S. mid-term elections on Tuesday, there may be an opportunity for lawmakers in favor of the 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline to force President Barack Obama to make a call.


      Kemp: Why Argentina Is Most Attractive Shale Play Outside of US

      Follow The Drilling

      There are more rigs drilling for oil and gas in the country than at any time in the last 30 years, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes.

      With over 100 rigs operating in September, the number of rigs has doubled since 2009. (

      There is more drilling activity in Argentina than anywhere else except the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and India.

      In 2013, U.S. oil major Chevron signed a deal with YPF on a drilling programme across 5,000 acres in the Neuquen Basin. In total, they drilled 109 wells in 2013, and the drilling plan includes a further 140 wells in 2014, according to Chevron.

      In a conference call with investors on Aug. 1, the company disclosed it had 19 active rigs in the first half of the year and had already drilled 89 wells.

      "Chevron is pleased with our initial results in the Vaca Muerta," Chevron's exploration chief told analysts.

      "Drilling results have identified two sweet spots where we are focusing our activity. In one of these areas we have commenced a horizontal (drilling) programme."

      He continued, "We have seen a production uptick, which gives us confidence that we will deliver the growth we anticipated when we entered this play."

      Other smaller North American exploration and production companies also have active drilling programmes in the Vaca Muerta.


      In contrast to Sichuan, Bazhenov or the Arctic, let alone Britain's onshore shale deposits, hundreds of wells have already been sunk into the Vaca Muerta and are already producing oil.

      Given its superb geology, Vaca Muerta remains one of the most promising plays around the world for investors willing to look through the extremely polarised commentary to assess the underlying risks and conditions.

    2. Stena Clyde Semisub Mobilizes to Pryderi-1 Well Location Offshore WA

      by IPB Petroleum Ltd.

      Press Release
      Tuesday, November 04, 2014

      IPB Petroleum reported Tuesday that the WA-424-P Joint Venture (IPB 75 percent, CalEnergy 25 percent and Operator) has received notification that the Stena Clyde (mid-water semisub) departed the Puffin field location this morning and that the rig is currently under tow to the Pryderi-1 location in WA-424-P offshore Western Australia.

      IPB Petroleum estimates that the Stena Clyde will arrive at the Pryderi-1 location later this week with spudding to commence shortly thereafter. IPB intends to make a further ASX announcement when this occurs.

      Pryderi-1 is a relatively shallow well and based on the current schedule IPB estimates that the target reservoir will be intersected within a week of spudding the well.

      Following logging this Pryderi-1 well will then be plugged and abandoned.


      Primus Offers Smaller Scale Solution for Stranded Gas

      by Karen Boman

      Rigzone Staff
      Monday, November 03, 2014

      Seeing a great opportunity in flared and stranded gas, Hillsborough, N.J.-based Primus Energy now offers its Syngas-to-Gasoline technology (STG+) in a smaller-scale version to address these issues.

      Primus sees its technology as a “win-win” situation not only for the environment, but for landowners and producers.

      The company, which already offers 2,000-barrel per day (bpd) plants in the United States, decided to see if it could scale down its plant size to address the stranded gas issue in remote areas with not infrastructure.

      After conducting engineering and price studies, Primus has developed a system which is now available commercially.

      The modular-design 350 bpd facility would be deployed on 15 tractor trailers and assembled on site. Through this smaller scale facility, Primus can make a liquid gasoline on or off-spec that can be moved with crude offsite, meaning that a separate logistics train to move gasoline is not needed.

      Primus’ solution works particularly well with heavy crude oil.

      Primus also can convert the syngas into napthta, eliminating the need for companies to truck or pipe in napthta, which is being used to thin heavy oil production. In the STG process, Primus takes natural gas, converts it to syngas and then coverts it to a high-quality, zero benzene gasoline.

      But the company’s STG+ technology is fundamentally different from Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology. FT, which was used in Germany in the 1940s and is used on a large scale in South Africa by Sasol to convert coal to liquid fuels, is commercially well-proven, but is not selective and produces a wide variety of crude products, from light alkanes to waxes, which must be refined extensively to produce marketable products, according to a white paper by Primus.

  42. Off to the Stars, With Grief, Dread and Regret

    Movie Review: ‘Interstellar,’ Christopher Nolan’s Search for a New Planet

    Like the great space epics of the past, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” distills terrestrial anxieties and aspirations into a potent pop parable, a mirror of the mood down here on Earth. Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” blended the technological awe of the Apollo era with the trippy hopes and terrors of the Age of Aquarius. George Lucas’s first “Star Wars” trilogy, set not in the speculative future but in the imaginary past, answered the malaise of the ’70s with swashbuckling nostalgia. “Interstellar,” full of visual dazzle, thematic ambition, geek bait and corn (including the literal kind), is a sweeping, futuristic adventure driven by grief, dread and regret.


    The whole movie can be seen as a plea for forgiveness on behalf of our foolish, dreamy species. We messed everything up, and we feel really bad about it. Can you please give us another chance?


    Nobody goes to a Christopher Nolan movie for laughs. But it is hard to imagine that his fans — who represent a fairly large segment of the world’s population — will be disappointed by “Interstellar.” I haven’t always been one of them, but I’ve always thought that his skill and ingenuity were undeniable. He does not so much transcend genre conventions as fulfill them with the zeal of a true believer. It may be enough to say that “Interstellar” is a terrifically entertaining science-fiction movie, giving fresh life to scenes and situations we’ve seen a hundred times before, and occasionally stumbling over pompous dialogue or overly portentous music. (In general, the score, by Hans Zimmer, is exactly as portentous as it needs to be.)
    Continue reading the main story


    Of course, the film is more than that. It is in the nature of science fiction to aspire to more, to ascend fearlessly toward the sublime. You could think of “Interstellar,” which has a lot to say about gravity, as the anti-“Gravity.” That movie, which would fit inside this one twice, stripped away the usual sci-fi metaphysics, presenting space travel as an occasion for quiet wonder and noisy crisis management. Mr. Nolan takes the universe and eternity itself as his subject and his canvas, brilliantly exploiting cinema’s ability to shift backward and sideways in time (through flashbacks and cross cuts), even as it moves relentlessly forward.

    But “Gravity” and “Interstellar” are both ultimately about the longing for home, about voyages into the unknown that become odysseys of return. And “Interstellar” may take its place in the pantheon of space movies because it answers an acute earthly need, a desire not only for adventure and novelty but also, in the end, for comfort.

    “Interstellar” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). A few expletives, a lot of peril.

  43. This would have to be one of THE great speeches

    One for the ages

    In Full: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam

    Lots of chatter online about Noel Pearson's rousing speech. Watch it in full here. One for the ages, no doubt.

  44. Groundwater information portal launched

    Richard Collins
    Wednesday, 5 November 2014

    The Bureau of Meteorology has released an online groundwater data tool, providing a comprehensive picture of Australia’s groundwater resources.


    About the Groundwater
    Dependent Ecosystems Atlas

    The National Atlas of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems presents the current knowledge of groundwater dependent ecosystems across Australia. It displays ecological and hydrogeological information on known groundwater dependent ecosystems and ecosystems that potentially use groundwater. The Atlas is a tool to assist the consideration of ecosystem groundwater requirements in natural resource management, including water planning and environmental impact assessment.

    The Atlas was funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Commission's Raising National Water Standards Program. It was developed by the National Water Commission, SKM, CSIRO, Cogha and the Bureau of Meteorology with input from every State and Territory as part of the Groundwater Action Plan. A key aim of the Groundwater Action Plan is to improve Australia's understanding of groundwater dependent ecosystems and facilitate how they are considered in water management.

    Read the Information Sheet (169 KB) to find out more

    The scope of the Atlas

    The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas is the most comprehensive inventory of the location and characteristics of groundwater dependent ecosystems for Australia. It incorporates multiple lines of scientific evidence including previous fieldwork, literature and mapping, and combines nation-wide layers of satellite remote sensing data. The physical characteristics that describe each ecosystem are also shown.

    The Atlas shows ecosystems including springs, wetlands, rivers and vegetation that interact with:
    the subsurface presence of groundwater, or
    the surface expression of groundwater

    Using the Atlas

    Explanations are available in the FAQs and methodology reports.

  45. Professor Fiona Stanley speaking on ABC radio from Roebourne November 5 2014 ..........."there are only 1000 indigenous people living in Roebourne surrounded by all this wealth...they should be living in luxury ...we could easily afford it..."


    Disadvantaged Pilbara community to connect with politicians

    A major research project on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal women and young children in a Pilbara town will be capped with a day of celebration on Wednesday, November 5.

    Celebrate Roebourne Day has been organised by Murdoch University’s Professor Rhonda Marriott, her Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing TripleWrap Research Team and supported by Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Limited.


    The event will feature 10 local people sharing a two minute story about themselves with invited guests including Professor Fiona Stanley AC, Telethon KIDS Institute, a Chief Investigator on the research project; Hon Brendon Grylls, MLA; Hon Stephen Dawson, MLC, and other dignitaries.

    The Roebourne Mothering documentary film created by Juluwarlu and Kick Up Dust Productions will also be launched.


    Pilbara documentary celebrates Aboriginal mothering traditions and lessons learned from raising bush babies

    ..................The film is part of a three-year Murdoch University study, known as the TripleWrap Project, focussing on how to provide the best care and support to mothers and babies.

    Research leader Dr Rhonda Marriott says the idea for the documentary was originally conceived to help educate health professionals.

    "We can't bring everyone to Roebourne," she said.

    "We can't bring everyone to rural or regional Australia to work with Aboriginal families, but through a film people can tell their story in their own voices."

    While the study's final results and recommendations won't be released until early next year in Perth, Dr Marriott says there are clear reoccurring themes.

    "What's come through very strongly to us is that families here, and women in families, are strong," she said.

    "The older women really hold the families together and for the town of Roebourne I think it's a real coming-of-age moment."

    Health advocate Dr Fiona Stanley agrees.

    During her time with the project she has spent time on country with the participants.

    "I think the groups who will benefit from this are the parents and future parents of Roebourne," she said.

    "It's really their story, and it's their story about how important it is to have proper birthing and how culture being strong is important for the baby's development and the community."

    Dr Stanley says the lessons learnt in Roebourne aren't only applicable locally.

    "What I'll be taking away is that this is a very strong, vibrant community that has got its act together," she said.

    "While we came up here with our research, what we're going away with is a model that can probably work very strongly elsewhere in Australia."

    Core to that model being successful is Aboriginal engagement, from the ground up, says Dr Stanley.

    "It's a very simple recipe, if you just get Aboriginal people to participate with you, as partners, you'll get better outcomes."

    As part of this week's community film screening, the research team also organised a Celebrate Roebourne Day.

    Dr Rhonda Marriott hopes what she has seen on the ground in Roebourne will resonate with others.

    "Films like this will, I think, go a long way towards opening people's eyes about the strength of culture," she said.

    "There is a different way of thinking about Aboriginal people, this film is about seeing them as they see themselves. It's their film."


    "Controlling the Aboriginal population was perhaps the central task of the Western Australian Police during the early colonial period. Indeed, enforcing the system of indentured servitude which prevailed during the mid-19th century was an important function. To this end, police were vested with wide powers of arrest without warrant (Bolton 1981).

    Increasing contact between the races, and growing availability of alcohol to Aboriginal people increased white authorities' inclination to control the behaviour of natives. Today, no less than in earlier years, Aborigines, who constitute less than 3 per cent of Western Australia's population, comprise one-third of the state's prisoners. One recent census of prisoners showed that on a given day, one out of every twelve male Aborigines in Western Australia between the ages of 19 and 29 was in prison (Mukherjee & Scandia 1988).

    Police are traditionally loath to discuss the specific considerations which underlie the allocation of their resources. The fact that they respond more vigorously to public drunkenness by Aborigines than to domestic violence in white society suggests something about their priorities. Roebourne, by any standard, appears to have been characterised by saturation policing. In 1983 eight officers and two police aides were stationed in the town. The nearby 'white' town of Wickham had half as many police for twice the population. Indeed, the regional centre, Karratha, with a population of over 8,000 had only fourteen officers.

    Nor were Roebourne police content to sit idly by. There was an almost constant police presence in and around the Aboriginal bar at the Victoria Hotel. The power of arrest for public drunkenness was exercised freely - recent years' totals approached 2,000 annually - nearly three arrests for every Aboriginal man, woman and child in the town.

    Even if such scrutiny arises from the noblest of motives (a very questionable assumption) there can be little doubt that this style of policing is counterproductive. For 150 years, police were regarded as agents of oppression. They had come to be perceived as upholding one law for whites and one for blacks. In such a setting, the overbearing presence of police can contribute to an offence where none is imminent. Relatively minor incidents may escalate as a result of police involvement.

    Tne history of abysmal relations between police and Aborigines in Western Australia is long and bleak. Punitive expeditions involving what amounted to summary execution have been documented well into the twentieth century (Western Australia 1927). In January 1975, a group of Western Desert people en route to ceremonies sought to travel through the town of Laverton. At Skull Creek, on the outskirts of town, they were intercepted by police who arrested most if not all of the able-bodied men in the group. A Royal Commission concluded that the arrests were unjustified and that much of the evidence given by police in subsequent court proceedings had been fabricated (Western Australia 1975-76).

    Discriminatory treatment in the arrest and prosecution of Aboriginal Western Australians has also been documented (Eggleston 1976). At Roebourne, in contrast to the nightly arrests at the Aboriginal bar of the Victoria Hotel, a former barmaid related that despite occasional fights involving flying jugs, tables and chairs in the saloon bar, she recalled only one arrest of a white customer.

    It is hardly original to suggest that traditionally, police in Australia had been recruited more on the basis of their physical bulk than on their skills in human relations. "

    1. Geraldton community grieves as Aboriginal boy’s suicide highlights prevention failures

      The Australian |
      November 07, 2014

      THE suicide of an 11-year-old ­Aboriginal boy in the West Australian port of Geraldton has plunged the local indigenous community deep into grief, six months after the state’s Mental Health Commissioner warned suicide victims were getting younger — and prevention strategies were not working.

      Peter Little was playing with other children outside his grandparents’ home on October 19 before he left the group and was found hanging from a tree soon after in a nearby patch of bush.

      The Australian understands he was found by another child.

      An inter-agency briefing note seen by The Australian says the boy “had a number of previously reported suicide attempts”.

      The West Australian Department for Child Protection would not comment on the matter yesterday, saying only that it was providing support to the family.

      People who know the Little family say Peter was being raised by loving grandparents and had been living with them since around the time his parents separated. His mother and father have travelled to Geraldton to grieve with the rest of the family. Peter had been living in an inland regional town before recently moving to Geraldton. He had struggled with numeracy and literacy at school but, ­according to one person who knows the family, he did not seem tormented or troubled and enjoyed being with his young relatives.

      Peter’s funeral will be held today.

  47. NO doubt about it then Barnett's claims of really wanting to improve the lot of Aboriginal people really were a croc of shit.

    "As the suicide rate grows, Aboriginal leaders in the Kimberley are growing increasingly frustrated at the millions of dollars in funding for mental health research and service delivery that is being ­wasted on the ground.

    The West Australian government has been accused of gross complacency on indigenous suicide despite the rising number of deaths and the heavy focus on the issue that sprang from the inquiries of coroner Alistair Hope, who delivered a major report in 2008 into a string of deaths in the Kimberley."

    All we need now is more shit from Bergman & co. about how gas plants can prevent suicide. All the money these c**ts waste with their bastard bureaucracies and the shit that comes out their mouths - nothing but f***ing parasites the lot of them. They should replace the Aboriginal flag with the union jack and "land rights" with "land grabs".

    As for Mundine (Mundane) this story shows how out of touch he is "the pretty boy in his ivory tower".


    A nation shamed when child sees suicide as the solution

    REMOTE Australia is in the grip of a suicide epidemic that is taking the lives of children as young as eight years old, with Aboriginal towns in the Kimberley now suffering the highest rates of suicide in the world.

    As the West Australian port city of Geraldton yesterday buried 11-year-old Peter Little, who was found hanging from a tree in nearby bush by another child, indigenous leaders called for urgent action to address a growing crisis that will see as many as one in 12 Aboriginal deaths caused by suicide.

    “We are talking about an ­epidemic,” said Tony Abbott’s chief indigenous adviser, Warren Mundine. “Quite frankly, you are looking at a society in collapse. I am a ­father and I just cannot get it through my head that at the age of eight or nine a child can’t see a ­future for themselves. It’s unimaginable.”

    Figures compiled by the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project reveal the rate of Aboriginal suicide in the Kimberley is as high as 70 deaths per 100,000 people, more than six times the ­national rate. The latest World Health Organisation data shows Guyana, in South America, has the highest country rate of 44 deaths per 100,000 people. Though the official rate of Aboriginal suicide in Australia is one in every 24 deaths, a researcher at the evaluation project, Gerry ­Georgatos, has put the figure at ­between one in 12 and one in 16 deaths, given the high number of suicides that are put down to other causes.

    “What we have is a rising crisis and the Kimberley is sadly beginning to reach the numbers it reached in 2007, 2008 and 2009,” Mr Georgatos told The Weekend Australian. “The impoverishment of remote communities has ­increased, we have tough sentencing regimes and mandatory jailing. One in 13 adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in WA is in prison: that’s the world’s highest jailing rate.”

    As the suicide rate grows, Aboriginal leaders in the Kimberley are growing increasingly frustrated at the millions of dollars in funding for mental health research and service delivery that is being ­wasted on the ground.

    The West Australian government has been accused of gross complacency on indigenous suicide despite the rising number of deaths and the heavy focus on the issue that sprang from the inquiries of coroner Alistair Hope, who delivered a major report in 2008 into a string of deaths in the Kimberley. Numerous summits have been held following suicide spates in remote communities in the years since.

  48. A nation shamed when child sees suicide as the solution

    Community leaders such as Wes Morris, who runs the award-winning Yirimam Project in the Kimberley, are labelling the state government’s response to the ­Aboriginal suicide crisis ­“pathetic”. Mr Morris said state governments of both political persuasions had failed to understand that “cultural wounds require cultural healing” and had continued with poorly targeted polices ­devised by “white fellas” that only exacerbated the problem.

    The Yiriman Project was initiated by Aboriginal elders in 1997 through the Kimberley Aboriginal law and Cultural Centre. Elders take young people into the bush to help them develop a sense of their cultural heritage, which builds self-esteem and identity.

    In his report on Aboriginal suicides in 2008, Mr Hope hailed the success of Yiriman in saving lives and recommended it be expanded to the entire Kimberley.

    Mr Morris said yesterday this had proved impossible because the state government had refused to provide funding, despite the group’s repeated applications. He said the program survived on modest funding of about $350,000 a year from the commonwealth government and private donors.

    Mr Hope also recommended the government put in place a leadership structure in the Department of Indigenous Affairs “which will command the respect of other government agencies and Aboriginal people”. The department’s budget has only increased from $28 million to $34m in the past six years.

    WA Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the government had “demonstrated its commitment to work with Aboriginal communities” to address the issue of suicide and said the Aboriginal youth suicide rate had “significantly declined” since 2011. Ms Morton said a new suicide-prevention strategy was being developed after the expiration of the prevention strategy that ran from 2009 until last year.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait ­Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda called for more to be done. “It seems to me we’ve almost become immune to the shock,” he said. “We need to be shocked out of our complacency. We’ve become desensitised where we need to be outraged. I find it hard to comprehend what life must be like for a child where suicide is the only option available to them.”

    Aboriginal senator Nova Peris said indigenous youth suicide required urgent action. “Support programs are being slashed, child- abuse reports are up 30 per cent but child abuse investigations have been cut,” she said. “The juvenile justice system is in crisis and only 1 per cent of child sexual- abuse reports are being substantiated. All these factors contribute to increased risks of youth suicide. The problem is being ignored.”

    1. The non stop police pressure targeting Indigenous people, the legalised murder, kidnapping and rape, the bashings and lawlessness of the Broome police, the racist attacks by the Chamber of Horrors and their followers, John McCourt, the Shire and the KLC cheering on human rights abuses all lead to this.


      Officers 'flee angry crowd' after woman apparently hit by police car in Broome

      Police in Broome have reportedly fled from a crowd of people angry that a police car apparently hit a woman at a park.

      Witnesses at the scene say the car appeared to strike the woman accidentally as she was lying on the ground.

      In the minutes afterwards, dozens of people chased the officers involved, forcing them to take refuge in a bus parked nearby.

      The incident occurred at the Town Beach park where people gather every day to drink and play cards.

      It is understood the officers were making an arrest in the area when the woman was hit.

      Dozens of officers sped to the scene to disperse the angry crowd.

      The woman was taken to Broome regional hospital in a serious but stable condition.

      Two police vehicles are badly damaged with all windows smashed in.


      Witness's reported the police knew the woman was there but still ran her over.
      Ironically the police were rescued by the Kullari bus !
      Luckily for them the bus hadn't been scrapped because of funding cuts.

      This is becoming like the Jews vs the Palestinians.

      The NT intervention and the Barnett/Woodside gas plant has seen police lawlessness just go off the scale.

      Big land grab alright - it's on everywhere.

    2. According to people who were there no one was fighting until the police ran over the woman sleeping on the grass - then the mob got wild.
      Sutherland has no credibility with anyone after all the lies and sh*t he did when the gas plant was on.
      He's already proved himself to be the biggest liar and a corrupt cop.

      Police attacked in wild Broome brawl

      "Superintendent Sutherland said the officer driving the van that ran over the woman was positioning the vehicle to assist with arrests when the accident happened.

      He said police would continue its zero tolerance approach on street drinking in Broome."


    3. Suicide-prevention groups accused of not doing enough for indigenous

      MAINSTREAM suicide-prevention organisations and major charities are failing to stem the tide of a rising epidemic of indig­enous suicide, sparking criticism from Aboriginal health workers that local groups are isolated from funding and service delivery.

      The national peak organisation Suicide Prevention Australia has defended the fact that it does not have a single Aboriginal representative on its board, even though some of the nation’s ­remote regions have the highest suicide rates in the world.

      The national rate is falling, a gain that reflects the sustained ­efforts of health-prevention initiatives.

      But at the same time the rate of indigenous suicide has risen to alarming levels.

      Yet the nation’s major charities that are granted millions of dollars in public funds are accused of ­directing too little to indigenous-suicide prevention and instead pairing with professional activists such as GetUp! to raise funds for indigenous programs in competition with Aboriginal campaigns.

      The Weekend Australian revealed on Saturday that the indig­enous suicide rate in the Kimberley is the highest in the world, when referenced against World Health Organisation figures, at 70 deaths per 100,000. The latest analysis by researchers indic­ates as many as one in 12 indig­enous people die by suicide.


      Professor Langton said indig­enous-controlled initiatives were best-placed to stem the crisis.

      “An unknown quantum — it must be in the hundreds of millions of dollars — from the indig­enous-specific commonwealth and state budgets go to NGOs and church organisations to deliver services,” she said.

      “I’m finding it difficult to think of one that intervenes effectively, especially in this area of child suicide.

      “And Aboriginal organisations that have responsibility to convert the coroners’ reports into the many child suicides, now scores of child suicides, into effective polic­ies and program implementation plans are unable to do so because they are not funded adequately and sustainably.”

      A spokesman for the Black Dog Institute, which is raising funds via GetUp! for a suicide prevention app called iBobbly, said as a research institu­te and clinical provider, the majority of its ­income was tied exclusively to tightly-controlled research grants.

      Adele Cox, a consultant on the newly formed ­Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project, says suicide victims are now younger than ever. “Suicide no longer discriminates in terms of age,” she said.

      Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive Sue Murray said the body drew on the expertise of its adviser Tom Calma AO, a former social justice commissioner, on indigenous issues. “We’re acutely aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to be represented,” Ms Murray said.

      Lifeline 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

  49. Tasmania drops mandatory prison sentences from anti-protest legislation

    Protesters now face maximum four-year jail terms and higher financial penalties under bill amended after upper house review

    Mandatory prison sentences have been removed from Tasmania’s controversial anti-protest legislation, but protesters will now face maximum four-year jail terms and higher financial penalties.

    The bill was amended late on Thursday following an upper house review, scrapping mandatory minimum three-month jail terms for protesters who repeatedly “prevent, hinder or obstruct the carrying out of a business activity”.

    The compulsory jail terms, which would have been the state’s first, were slammed by the Tasmanian Law Society, the Human Rights Law Centre and the United Nations, which warned they would have a “chilling effect” on free expression.

    But the 15-member Legislative Council, which is dominated by right-leaning independents, opted to increase the maximum jail term for repeated disruptive protests from two years to four.

    “It sends a very clear message that the Tasmanian parliament believes it’s a serious issue if people are repeat offenders and disrupt workplaces where people are lawfully wanting to undertake their work functions,” independent upper house MP Tania Rattray said.

    Financial penalties under the bill have also been doubled to a maximum $100,000 for organisations and up to $25,000 for individuals, up from $5,000 in the original bill.

    The bill is targeted at industries that the Hodgman government says are “vulnerable to protest action”, including mining, forestry, agriculture and the construction industry.

    The state resources minister, Paul Harriss, had signalled he would be willing to exempt protests outside “shops, markets and warehouses” from the new punishments.

    But MPs opted to keep them within the scope of the bill to protect the “Harvey Normans and Bunnings of the world”, Rattray said.

  50. Nationwide gas grid starts to emerge as NSW and NT sign $1bn pipeline deal

    The plan to link north and east criticised by experts who said NSW buckled to pressure from anti-coal seam gas lobby

    Australia is one step closer to establishing a national gas grid after New South Wales and the Northern Territory formally endorsed a proposed pipeline.

    The planned link would run from Alice Springs to Moomba connecting northern and eastern gas markets.

    Energy experts said it would ease pressure on NSW to fast-track controversial coal seam gas (CSG) projects as the state approaches an expected gas shortage in the next few years.

    The premier of NSW, Mike Baird, and the NT’s chief minister, Adam Giles, signed a memorandum of understanding in Sydney on Friday.

    But the plan has already been criticised by energy experts who said the NSW government had buckled to pressure from the anti-CSG lobby.

    Geoffrey Cann, the national director of oil and gas at Deloitte, said NSW had an ample supply of gas and should be working towards extracting it rather than relying on other states.

    “To move all that gas from such a long distance away when you’re sitting on your own pile of it doesn’t make a lot of economic sense really,” he said, pointing out that NSW imports 95% of its gas from other states.

    “I think the reason the government is promoting it is because they can’t see a way around the environmental movement in NSW and the community opposition to [coal seam gas mining],” he said.

    The project is expected to cost between $900m and $1.3bn and is hoped to be operational by mid-2018.

    Baird said the NSW industrial gas sector was struggling and looking for new contracts. “What this will do is bring additional gas, provide more opportunity for contracts for them and ... bring downward pressure on prices,” he said.


    Quick facts on the pipeline:
    •What is behind the proposal? Fears of an impending gas shortage in NSW.
    •What would it cost? Anything from $900 million to $1.3 billion, according to Australia's largest pipeline owner, APA Group.
    •Where would it go? APA is looking at three potential routes: Alice Springs to Moomba (1,100km), Tenant Creek to Mt Isa (620km), and from midway between Alice and Tenant Creek to the Carpentaria Gas Pipeline (700km).
    •Where would gas come from? The Territory Government prefers developing onshore deposits. It says this would create jobs in remote areas. APA Group says more proven reserves have been identified offshore.


  51. Dublin Shell to Sea shared Juanita Augustine's video: Sooo.... I got arrested today.

    Anti-fracking protest in New Brunswick..

    Juanita Augustine

    "This video has gone viral.

    Some people sharing it don't know the story behind it. There has been an anti-fracking protest taking place for a few months in New Brunswick. This protest has been supported by Acadians, Anglophones, and Mi'kmaq First Nations in the area.

    For about 3 weeks, protesters had blocked off the entrance to a compound where SWN (a fracking company) was holding their trucks and equipment. SWN got an injunction to have these protestors removed. Police had not enforced the injunction for several days.

    This night before this took place, the main van that was blocking the compound was removed. So it was no longer blocked.

    The injunction was for the entrance to the compound. In the dawn hours of that morning, over 200 RCMP with weapons drawn and U.S. military snipers with automatic assault rifles and K-9 units snuck onto the private property located across the road from the compound where the protesters were sleeping in tents.

    By this time it was mainly Mi'kmaq warriors (many youth) who were staying at the protest over night.

    They awoke to rifles and guns being pointed at them. They were no longer blocking the entrance to the compound, and the RCMP say they were there to enforce the injunction, but they made arrests on private property that was not listed in the injunction.

    Word got out quickly that this was happening and their families and community members came to support them, but they were met and stopped by a line of RCMP.

    People were screaming "my kids are in there!" as they heard shots being fired in the woods. Once the RCMP had the warriors on the ground and handcuffed, they stomped on their heads. Many of them are still in jail and they have concussions.

    One female warrior was released, and she had to go to the hospital after her appearance in court. One warrior who was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet is suffering from internal bleeding and may have his leg amputated.

    Where the supporters were trying to reach their family members, emotions were running high and RCMP began attacking these unarmed supporters. An elderly woman was praying with rosary beads when whe was pepper sprayed in the eyes.

    Mi'kmaq supporters prayed and sang with their drums and eagle feathers while RCMP used excessive force. They fired shots, and pointed assault rifles at unarmed elders, women, and youth. They fired rubber bullets at people. They pepper sprayed people. They used batons and riot gear to move the crowd.

    They would single out women when they were alone and throw them to the ground, man handle them and arrest them.

    One Mi'kmaq lawyer was thrown to the ground, man-handled and arrested while she was waving a white flag. All of this because they were trying to protect the water for future generations of ALL Canadians." - Buffy Peters (my sister)


  52. Dublin Shell to Sea


    "Wow, a look of disgust and anger is going to be a crime?!?!

    Last Wednesday in B.C. Supreme court, Giant energy company Kinder Morgan's attorney suggested anti-pipeline protesters’ facial expressions might constitute “assault.” Yes, you read that right.

    The attorney presented photographs of the protesters with facial expressions he said were malicious. “One of the things I will argue is that is not only intimidation, but that is actually an assault,” he said. “Some of the faces demonstrate the anger, and frankly, the violence demonstrated by some of the people.”

    Add this to the list of the military-industrial complex's social media and counter intelligence attempts to harass, divide, and scare the environmental movement. First it was "eco-terrorists," Then it was "environmental jihadists." And now, dictation of our facial expressions. This is patriarchal capitalism, and it is insane and irredeemable.

    Fortunately, Resisters have a sense of humor, and a creative campaign has ensued, with selfies featuring the grimaces & scowls of anti-pipeline activists."

  53. Yawuru people camp out in opposition to Buru Energy's fracking plans in Canning Basin

    Broome locals opposed to a fracking program planned in the Canning Basin are gearing up for a wet season camp-out to try to stop Buru Energy's work in the area.

    In recent weeks, the company has cleared more than 100 hectares of land to lay a grid of seismic testing lines in the area 70 kilometres from Broome.

    The mining company is also due to start a series of so-called 'mini-fracks', where high-pressure guns are used to test rock strength, at two wells in coming weeks.

    Buru spokesman Jon Ford said the tests will help establish which areas are suitable for hydraulic fracturing next year.

    "We're only planning to do two wells this year and we're confident the work will be finished by the end of the year," he said.

    "It's not done using liquids or gels – it's just done with a standard petroleum perforation gun."

    The mini-fracks will be done not far from where Yawuru man Micklo Corpus has been camped out for about two months.

    He has endured sweltering heat at the tent camp at the Jackaroo turn-off.

    The turn-off from the Great Northern Highway is festooned with anti-fracking banners and placards that attract honks from passing traffic.

    This week, Mr Corpus and his supporters have started erecting more permanent structures that will help them sit out the wet season storms.

    "We know this area gets more rain than Broome, and a lot of lightning and thunders," Mr Corpus said.

    "So we're preparing ourselves. [We've] got some material together now to put up a waterproof shelter.

    "We're looking forward to the weather and I think we're going to hit it front-on. It's a cause that we can't afford to get off the gate here."

    The Jackaroo block sits partially on land over which Yawuru were granted exclusive possession native title in 2010.

    The site also lies within the Roebuck Plains cattle station, which in September was formally handed over the Yawuru.

    Mr Corpus said many Yawuru people were furious they remained powerless to approve or stop fracking in the area.

    "Legally it might be right, ethically it's wrong," he said.

    "It really frightens us how they [Buru] behave on country now, just because they've got the approvals."

  54. Yawuru people camp out in opposition to Buru Energy's fracking plans in Canning Basin

    Buru's negotiations with traditional owners largely unsuccessful

    Buru Energy has been trying to negotiate agreements with traditional owner groups across its Canning Basin lease areas to secure their support for its fracking program.

    So far only the Yungngora people, from the Noonkanbah community, have signed on.

    In July, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, which represents the traditional owners of Broome, held a meeting to vote on the issue.

    The group voted overwhelming to oppose fracking, but to continue negotiating with the company to ensure they have some involvement in managing the social and environmental impacts.

    Nyamba Buru Yawuru were contacted for comment for this story but have not responded.

    In October in a newsletter for members, it was stated: "Buru Energy wrote to Yawuru in August, stating that it will go ahead with its Yulleroo fracking program, even though Yawuru does not agree."

    "The company says it has obtained all government approvals and has an obligation under its permit works program to proceed," the statement said.

    Buru spokesman Jon Ford said the relationship remains strong, adding that Yawuru cultural monitors have been invited to supervise ground works.

    "We have a strong working relationship with Yawuru," he said.

    "We don't do anything that will upset them. For instance, the seismic lines – they were all supervised with senior Yawuru people on the ground. We're talking to Yawuru – there's no sneaky business."

    Mr Ford said Buru staff have come into contact with those camped out at the Jackaroo turn-off.

    "It's a cordial relationship. It's not affecting our operations, but what it is affecting is our ability to go in and prepare those sites for the wet season," he said.

    "It's affecting our ability to do some compliance work, such as water sampling, which I think is sort of is counter-productive to what the protesters want."

    Mr Ford maintained that the highly visible protest movement did not reflect the views of the broader Broome community.

    "People come up to us in the street, they're asking about opportunities," he said.

    "We're not getting the strong opposition that some people would like to think we're getting."

    Greens MP Robin Chapple supports the Yawuru people's cause

    Greens MP for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple, visited the camp to show his support.

    "I was actually quite surprised," he said.

    "The camp looked fairly rudimentary until I got there but they've got their own telecommunications, they've got their own fridges coming in, own water supply coming in.

    "They're building buildings that'll last the wet, so they're in for the long haul."

    Mr Chapple said next year's proposed fracking program would likely mobilise Broome residents in a similar way to the Kimberley gas hub protests of recent years.

    "They're out here, they're committed, and I can only get this camp getting bigger and stronger as time goes on."

  55. Renewable energy investment in Australia dropped 70% in past year

    Climate Council report finds Australia is losing green business overseas as China and US exploit global shift to renewables

    Investment in renewable energy has dropped by 70% as Australia loses green business overseas, a report by the Climate Council has found.

    “Investment that could be coming to Australia is instead going overseas to countries that are moving to a renewables energy future,” the report’s co-author, Tim Flannery, said.

    Flannery said over the past year investment in Australian renewable energy projects had dropped 70%, while China installed more renewable energy capacity than fossil fuels in 2013.

    The Coalition government is awaiting the results of a second review into the Renewable Energy Target, with the renewables industry blaming uncertainty over its future for the investment drought.

    The report, Lagging Behind: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change, found China had retired 77 gigawatts of coal power stations between 2006 and 2010 and aimed to retire a further 20GW by next year.

    “The US is also rapidly exploiting the global shift to renewable energy, coming second only to China for installed renewable energy due to a range of state based renewable energy targets, incentives and initiatives,” Flannery said.


    Clean energy group not confident wind projects will be safe under RET reduction

    The chief clean energy lobby has rejected the Federal Government's assurances that large scale renewable projects will not be affected by a reduced Renewable Energy Target.

    The Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane this week told the ABC current wind farm developments in the pipeline would be "more than accommodated" as the Government negotiated with Labor about a reduced target.

    Development of AGL's Silverton wind farm development in far-west New South Wales remained stalled as uncertainty around the RET remains.

    Russell Marsh from the Clean Energy Council says existing wind farm proposals would not fare well under a reduction in the target.

    "What the Government doesn't appear to understand is that the reduction in our RET, to the sort of level they are talking about, is going to have a big impact on existing projects," he said.

    "But they don't appear to have understood the impacts the reduction of the target will have on existing projects and haven't come forward with any strong proposals as to how they are going to ensure that any existing investments are protected."

  56. Coalition bid to strip Tasmanian forests of world heritage cover 'disappointing'

    Leading conservationist says Australia needs to understand the importance of leaving carbon-dense forests standing

    The head of the world’s leading conservation organisation has criticised the Australian government’s attempt to strip world heritage protection from Tasmania’s forests, as new data laid bare the vast number of ecosystems in Australia at risk of collapse.

    Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN, the body that advises the United Nations on conservation matters, told Guardian Australia it was “disappointing” that the Abbott government had launched a bid to remove 74,000ha of Tasmanian forest from world heritage protection.

    A meeting in June of Unesco’s world heritage committee took just nine minutes to reject Australia’s proposal. Portugal’s delegate heaped further embarrassment upon the Coalition by calling its rationale for the removal “feeble”.

    “Australia on the whole has a very good record on protected areas [but] there are challenges, such as the Tasmanian issues,” Marton-Lefèvre said. “They aren’t the first country to try to take away a commitment, but it would send a bad message if the world heritage committee allowed Australia to do that.

    “They didn’t allow them to do that, they didn’t allow them to regress, and that listing should not be revised. I’m disappointed that any government would try that but I believe Australia has accepted the decision.”

    The Coalition had claimed that the forest listing, part of a larger world heritage extension agreed by the previous Labor government, unfairly locked out the timber industry and was not world heritage quality due to heavy degradation caused by previous logging. IUCN experts rejected this latter assertion.

    Marton-Lefèvre said Australia, like other countries, needed to realise that leaving carbon-dense forests standing was preferable, economically and environmentally, than cutting them down.

    “Standing forests are worth far more than those that are cut down,” she said. “You can make money from timber tomorrow, but standing forests can capture and store carbon and provide much better value for communities long term.

    “There is around 2bn hectares of degraded land in the world and we want to restore that. It would be much better to take forest supplies from this degraded land than to destroy undamaged forests. We could restore degraded land and have timber products from it – it would be a win-win for everybody.

    “Leaving these forests standing is important not just for Tasmania and Australia, but to all of us in the world. We need to understand the role of nature in our lives before we destroy it.”

  57. Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

    Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show

    • Interactive - which fossil fuel companies are most responsible?


    "There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

    Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

    Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.

    Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.


    Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

    The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms – mainly oil companies with widely recognised names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.

    Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco, Russia's Gazprom and Norway's Statoil.


    Meanwhile, Oreskes, who has written extensively about corporate-funded climate denial, noted that several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement.

    "For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action," she said.

    The data represents eight years of exhaustive research into carbon emissions over time, as well as the ownership history of the major emitters.

    The companies' operations spanned the globe, with company headquarters in 43 different countries. "These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth," Heede writes in the paper.

    The largest of the investor-owned companies were responsible for an outsized share of emissions. Nearly 30% of emissions were produced just by the top 20 companies, the research found.

    By Heede's calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.

    ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.

    The historic emissions record was constructed using public records and data from the US department of energy's Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Centre, and took account of emissions all along the supply chain.

    The centre put global industrial emissions since 1751 at 1,450 gigatonnes.

  58. Missiles go cheap: defence’s fire sale

    AUSTRALIA is quietly exporting dozens of missiles to other countries to try to recoup some of the $200 million it has wasted on them in botched military purchases.

    The Australian Defence Force has sold 30 anti-ship Penguin missiles to Brazil via Norway, several to New Zealand and two Popeye air-to-surface missiles to South Korea since the start of last year. The sales have been conducted without publicity, in part, because they are an embarrassing reminder of failed defence protects that have cost taxpayers more than $1.4 billion.

    The sale of any missile is highly unusual for Australia, which is an active participant in global ­efforts to prevent the proliferation of larger long-range missiles. Defence says the sales do not breach military export laws.

    The missile sales are an ­attempt by the ADF to reduce its stockpile of redundant missiles which it can no longer fire ­because it has no suitable helicopters or fighters to carry them.

    The ADF has been left stranded with $201m worth of AGM-119 Penguin missiles it purchased between 1998 and 2002 for its Super Seasprite helicopters, which never took off.

    In one of Australia’s most expensive defence fiascos, 11 Seasprites were ordered by the Howard government in 1997 but serious flaws in the helicopters saw the project delayed by seven years before it was scrapped in 2008 at a cost of more than $1.4bn to the taxpayer. To try to recoup some of the $201m it lost on the Penguin missiles, the ADF has struck a deal with their manufacturer, Kongsberg Gruppen of Norway, to offer Australia’s Penguin missiles on the international market, with the profits split equally. “Kongsberg markets the weapons for sale and overhauls the missiles for sale,” a Defence spokesman said. “Australia retains a right of veto over all sales.”

    Defence confirmed that 30 Penguin missiles were sold to Brazil via Kongsberg last year, while another five were broken into parts to support the sale. The deal was reportedly worth $US42m, meaning Australia received about $US21m.

    Defence also confirmed that this year New Zealand bought an undisclosed number of Penguin missiles for its own Seasprite helicopters. Defence refused to say how many Penguin missiles it originally bought or how many it still had, saying such information was classified despite the ADF having no means to fire any of the missiles in anger.

  59. Industrial action imminent at Gorgon LNG project

    Construction workers at Chevron's $US54 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia Island have rejected an offer for a new enterprise bargaining agreement, stirring up a simmering dispute over work rosters that could escalate into industrial action.

    Any such action would come at a critical time for Australia's biggest resources project, which is already running about nine months late and $US17 billion over its original budget.

    The rejection of the EBA offer was confirmed by the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which negotiated on behalf of the employers. Chevron has yet to comment.

    Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Jim Murie said on Tuesday after the vote on the EA offer that while protected industrial action was "always a last resort", unless employers recognised the importance of family friendly rosters "we may be left with no choice".

    A dispute over work rosters for fly in-fly out workers resulted in some workers going on strike earlier this year at the Curtis Island LNG site in Gladstone, where three adjacent LNG projects are under construction. A widening of the strike action was avoided when a revised EA offer was accepted on a third vote by union members.

    At Gorgon, the EA between the largest employer on the island, Chicago Bridge & Iron, expires in January. CBI, through the CCI, offered an improved work roster for FIFO workers in the EA offer, but not on the terms the unions wanted.

    The new EA offered a roster of 23 days on, nine days off, compared to the current system of 26 days on, nine off. The unions are calling for a roster of 20 days on, 10 days off.


    Filipino workers on 52-day FIFO roster at Chevron’s $54 billion Gorgon LNG project

    SOME overseas fly-in, fly-out staff on Barrow Island are working 52 days straight, acc­ording to a WA union.

    The 52-day swing is twice as long as the standard 26 days on/nine days off roster worked by other staff, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said.

    The 30 Filipino welders on 457 visas were hired by ­Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) in August to work on Chevron’s $54 billion Gorgon LNG project.

    CB&I said it did not ­comment on operational ­issues. Chevron also declined to comment.

    The AMWU launched a ­social media campaign to find qualified local workers when the overseas welders were ­recruited.

    “At the time, we couldn’t understand why CB&I would hire Filipino welders, when there were plenty of qualified Australians able to do the job, but it is starting to look like they wanted a workforce they could work into the ground,” AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said.

    “We all know Gorgon is ­delayed and over-budget, but making workers work for 52 days straight is not a responsible answer.

    “I recently gave evidence to the Parliamentary inquiry into the mental health of FIFO workers, and it is becoming clear that the length of time workers spend without a break is a key driver of mental health problems.

    “While we don’t believe there is a need for these ­Filipino workers on Barrow ­Island, but now that they are here, we want to make sure that Chevron and CB&I show them a duty of care and don’t take ­advantage of them.”

  60. WATCH: Facing Down Corporate Election Greed

    In the midst of the midterm elections and the obsession with which party would control the US Senate, there were races at the local and state level with deeper implications for the future of the country.

    In the small city of Richmond, California, a slate of progressive candidates faced off against a challenge from pro-business candidates backed to the tune of more than $3 million by the energy giant Chevron. For years, Chevron has treated Richmond like a company town and its large refinery there has been a constant source of health and safety concerns.

    Since 2007, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a Green Party leader, and her allies on the city council have faced down not only Chevron but other corporate interests like the real estate and financial industries as well. This year, Chevron fought back with an expensive barrage of negative campaign media. But on Election Day, the progressive slate triumphed, despite the roughly $250 per vote Chevron spent.

    McLaughlin -- who this year was term-limited as mayor but won a city council seat -- and Harriet Blair Rowan, a college student and journalist who uncovered the Chevron money story for the news website Richmond Confidential, talk with me this week about the role unlimited sums of corporate cash have played in Richmond. We discuss the great success of the billions spent by wealthy individuals and companies in other races across the country and how to fight back, using Richmond's example as a model for future fights of organized people versus organized money.

    Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at

  61. ANOTHER one of Barnett's plans in trouble.


    Shipping Browse LNG madness: users

    Anthony Barich
    Tuesday, 11 November 2014

    GAS users have slammed operator Woodside Petroleum’s plans to ship LNG from the Browse field to Western Australia saying it would put it beyond the price reach of the state’s industry.


    As mentioned before they would be better off importing it from East Africa.
    Most likely would cost less than Buru's gas too.



    More people need to see this. Please share.

    AGL are currently fracking the peaceful community of Gloucester. The community have taken a stand, and this is how the company treats them.
    Future Super is proud that we will NEVER invest a cent in this company.

    AGL security guards assault Gloucester farmers

    AGL and Halliburton hydraulic fracturing in the Gloucester Valley. Oct 27th, 2014



  63. Oil Change International

    We remember Ken Saro-Wiwa. Killed 19 years ago today.

    In 1990, Saro-Wiwa launched a non-violent movement for social and ecological justice in his Ogoni homeland and the Niger Delta. The movement he led accused the Nigerian government and Shell and Chevron of waging an ecological war and genocidal series of attacks against the peoples of the Delta.

    The movement was so effective, that by 1993 Shell had to pull out of Ogoni. The response by Shell and the military government of Nigeria was to frame him for murder and execute him.The hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa dramatically and tragically illustrated the true price of oil.

    Nine men – Baribor Bera, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbokoo, Barinem Kiobel, John Kpuinen, Paul Levura, Felix Nuate and Ken Saro-Wiwa – were hanged on the morning of November 10, 1995, in the yard of Nigeria’s Port Harcourt prison. 19 years ago today.

    Witnesses reported that Saro-Wiwa’s last words were, “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues.”

    Today, Nigeria's struggle with oil is sadly continuing...


  64. Mick Dodson appeals to save indigenous heritage

    THE Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies will develop an “urgent plan” to identify, gather, store and share indigenous heritage, saying its historic collection of Aboriginal culture is at risk.

    The institute will seek “the best minds across the country and around the world” to help, chairman Mick Dodson will tell a ­National Press Club audience in Canberra today.

    He calls for community and government support for the project, warning the legacy is in jeopardy because the institute cannot protect its collections and is unable to visit communities to record oral history and languages and recover materials from “biscuit tins and shoe boxes in garages”.

    “We will work hard to develop new partnerships with Australian and international corporations, governments and individuals who can contribute to realising a site of pilgrimage for all Australians, and the millions of international visitors, who want to know and understand more about the world’s longest continuous civilisation ... ,” he will say.

    Professor Dodson will warn that long after each of us have passed on, what we leave our children and their children to the Australian nation, “will be measured by the legacy we build, or fail to build, now.”


    Colin Barnett to axe 150 bush towns

    INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has acknowledged there may be no future for some remote indigenous communities in Western Australia as Premier Colin Barnett yesterday revealed he plans to close up to 150 of the state’s 274 tiny settlements.

    “There may well be communities that require a discussion about their future because of a range of issues including their economic future, but this is a matter for the West Australian government,” Senator Scullion said.

    Fraser government indigenous affairs minister Fred Chaney has sent an open letter to Mr Barnett, Senator Scullion and Tony Abbott warning that if governments simply “let things rip” by withdrawing services and driving people out of remote communities without careful preparation, the outcomes for indigenous Australians “will be shameful”.

    The Barnett government has claimed it was pushed into accepting a one-off $90 million payment from the commonwealth in September in exchange for taking over municipal and essential services. It claims the money is well short of what is needed.

    In reply, Senator Scullion says the WA government “has been discussing the closure of these ­remote indigenous communities with the commonwealth government for a number of years, well before the West Australian government agreed to take on ­responsibility for municipal services in these communities.”

    Mr Chaney said he had raised his concerns about responsibility for municipal services being handed to the state but had been told by the Prime Minister’s office that this handover was done by agreement and that it would not hurt ­remote Aboriginal people.

    Mr Chaney wrote: “We can learn from history. What we are facing is a rerun of the 1960s when after the equal wage case, people moved from the stations to the nearby towns with disastrous ­social impacts. It was the social and economic degradation of the people who had been moved off country which led the McMahon government to commence the purchase of pastoral leases to enable people to go back to their country.

    “Good people (were) ­degraded, reduced to social and economic misery.’’

    1. Mick Dodson blasts Tony Abbott for 'negativity' towards Indigenous people

      Former Australian of the Year says the prime minister is contributing to the perception of ‘black failure’

      The former Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson, has blasted Tony Abbott for his negativity towards Indigenous people, saying he’s contributing to the perception of “black failure”.

      Speaking at the national press club in Canberra on Wednesday, Dodson said the prime minister’s Indigenous policy focuses on protecting children, securing communities and building jobs.

      “It’s a three-trick pony and a very small pony at that. Stop the negativity. All of those three things are about our failure, supposedly. Because we’re Aboriginal,” said Dodson, who is chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Aiatsis). “The reality is many, many of us are very successful.”

      “We never hear about them from you guys [the media]. You’re too busy on the entertainment of black failure and that’s where the government’s mind seems to be and where the public discourse seems to be.”

      Before taking office in 2013, Abbott promised to be the prime minister for Indigenous affairs, and moved the portfolio into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

      Dodson warns that certain government policies, like moves to weaken the Northern Territory Land Rights Act, will be detrimental to reconciliation.

      “I think the present government is picking fights on a number of fronts that don’t help reconciliation and certainly aren’t conducive to an atmosphere that would enable a successful referendum.”


      Outback shame blamed for remote closures

      WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett has cited child neglect and abuse and violence that he characterises as “civil war” in a strident defence of his plan to close more than half the state’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities.

      “They cannot provide education, they cannot provide health, they cannot provide employment,” Mr Barnett said in parliament.

      “They are not viable and the social outcomes and the abuse and neglect of young children is a disgrace for this state.”


      The deputy of the Prime Minister’s indigenous council, Aboriginal doctor Ngiare Brown, yesterday expressed her outrage that the WA government planned to close the remote communities.

      “Let’s be clear, I believe that the love, safety, good health and quality education of our children should be placed at the heart of all determinations affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and all communities,’’ she said.

      “If communities are unsafe or unviable, then governments have the responsibility to understand the historical and contemporary contexts of those communities and the failure of systems which placed them at risk, and then negotiate the best possible ­options so as to minimise negative impacts and maximise opportunities and positive outcomes.

      “I am struggling with what I see increasingly as a predetermined, assimilationist agenda that privileges only economic rationalisation, without consideration of more inclusive and innovative approaches that recognise our strengths and contributions.

      “The forced, non negotiable removal and relocation of communities and entire cultural groups is not in the best interests of achieving the equality governments claim to be prioritising, and will serve only further marginalise families and communities and add to the burden of poor health and social justice outcomes.”

      Mr Barnett said the close of so many communities would be one of the most difficult social issues the state had faced. About 12,000 people live in WA remote communities.

      “It was previous commonwealth governments that created this issue of encouraging Aboriginal people to go back onto lands and helped establish these small and remote communities,’’ he said.

      “We don’t want this issue. We’d much rather it wasn’t happening but it is happening. This will be a process of transition.’’

    2. Plan to close more than 100 remote communities would have severe consequences, says WA Premier

      ..................The move sparked a backlash in parts of the Indigenous community, with Aboriginal elders leading a protest outside state parliament this afternoon over the plans.

      About 50 people gathered as elders warned that closures of communities would only increase the existing social problems that those residents face.

      Labor's Indigenous Affairs spokesman, Ben Wyatt, said it was dangerous territory and showed the Government had "given up" on the problem.

      Later in Parliament, Mr Barnett admitted closing communities was not a good option but said the lack of a better one had tied the Government's hands.

      "It will cause great distress to Aboriginal people who will move, it will cause issues in regional towns as Aboriginal people move into them," he said.

      "But high rates of suicide, poor education, poor health, no jobs ... it's a huge economic, social and health issue.

      "They [the smaller remote communities] are not viable and the social outcomes, the abuse and neglect of young children, is a disgrace to this state ... this is the biggest social issue this state faces."

      The possible closure comes amid Federal Government funding cuts for remote Indigenous communities.

      The Commonwealth was the major funder of around two thirds of the state's Indigenous settlements - with the state funding the rest -but that responsibility is being transitioned to the states over the next two years.


      Mr Barnett said the Government was still working out the finer details of what it would do.

      "The State Government has not yet worked out how we'll handle this but we accept we have no option to accept the responsibility of dealing with this situation," he said.

      "It's a very complex and difficult situation for the Government to handle but we have no option to handle it because the Commonwealth has vacated the territory."

      The move is not without precedent, with the Government in recent years shutting down and moving to demolish the remote East Kimberley community of Oombulgurri after a string of social problems.

      The previous Labor Government also shut the Swan Valley Nyungah Community in the early 2000s after a series of sexual abuse incidents and mental health problems, some of which were linked to community leader Robert Bropho.

      Bella Brohpo, who lived in the Swan Valley community, warned at Wednesday's protest that further closures would be devastating.

      "Closing down these communities will only make more people homeless and despair," she said.

      "The way we choose to live, it should be our choice and we shouldn't have domination of Government people telling us how to live or where to live.

      "The [former Labor] Geoff Gallop Government and today Colin Barnett don't care a damn."

  65. Rich countries subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by $88bn a year

    US, UK, Australia giving tax breaks to explore new reserves despite climate advice that fossil fuels should be left buried

    • Fossil fuel exploration subsidies – mapped

    Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

    The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields.

    The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International.


    Renewable energy target thrown into confusion as negotiations collapse

    Labor walks away from RET talks, saying it cannot accept ‘deep and devastating cut to the sector’ being proposed by Coalition


    East West Link road an $18bn waste of money, say Melbourne academics

    One-way toll of more than $13 would be needed, and money could be better spent on improving public transport, says experts from three universities


    Fact check: Can clean coal technology halve emissions within 5 years?

    More than half a billion tonnes of coal is mined in Australia each year from national reserves that are the fourth largest in the world, behind the United States, Russia and China.

    Coal exports have added, on average, $44 billion to the national annual income over the past five years, with Australia predicted to be one of the biggest beneficiaries on increasing global trade in coal. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says coal is "good for humanity" and that he is confident about the future of the industry.

    But the latest 'synthesis report' from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in November, warns that without, among other things, reducing the carbon intensity of electricity generation, global warming is on track to exceed current temperatures by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the Government's "direct action" plan will underpin research into clean coal technology, which will "significantly" reduce emissions from current coal-fired power generators.


    The claim: Greg Hunt says technology which will be available over the next three to five years will reduce emissions from coal-fired power stations by up to 30 to 50 per cent.

    •The verdict: The technology remains in a development phase and is not realistically expected to be commercially operative and rolled out within three to five years. No other clean coal technology sufficient to cut emissions from current generators by up to 50 per cent is economically viable at industrial scale in Australia, or expected to become viable within the next five years.


    1. Australia's treatment of Indigenous people, refugees including children, and one of the poorest countries on Earth - East Timor.

      East Timor's Bairo Pite Clinic crowd-source fundraising campaign unable to save boy

      .................Specialist medical expertise was mobilised in Australia and the hope was that the boy would be well enough to fly to Australia for life-saving surgery and treatment.

      But in the end the money and the best intentions of some of Australia's leading paediatric and oncology specialists arrived too late for Sergio.

      A biopsy conducted in East Timor revealed his nasopharyngeal carcinoma was too advanced and had generated secondary cancers in his abdomen. Sergio's cancer was inoperable.

      Bairo Pite medical staff devised a palliative care plan. He fought on bravely but lost his painful battle and died last month.

      "Sergio happens to be a victim of having been born in the wrong place," Dr Murphy said.

      "He was born in a place that doesn't have any access to proper healthcare ... and as much as we tried and as much as you people tried we could not get him into a facility that has the capacity to deal with his problems."

      East Timor healthcare system reliant on external support

      In an email to contributors, Bairo Pite offered to refund donations to the Sergio fund but hoped the money could be used to help save the lives and relieve the suffering of other critically ill patients.

      "We can assure you that, if you allow us, your donation will be used to continue treating many sick children in Timor Leste," the clinic said.

      "We know that with the help of generous, compassionate people like yourselves, we can make a big impact on the lives of many, many children in Timor Leste."


      Malnutrition, leprosy affect children in East Timor

      East Timor has the highest rate of leprosy in South-East Asia but it is a disease that is completely treatable and preventable.

      Dr Murphy is optimistic that if they can get to all the outlying villages and identify those suffering from the disease, it will be entirely possible to eliminate it from East Timor.


  66. The real story of US coal: inside the world's biggest coalmine

    Despite Obama’s pledge to cut carbon emissions, production at North Antelope Rochelle mine in Wyoming is booming - and climate change is off the agenda. Suzanne Goldenberg gets a rare look inside the biggest coalmine in the world

    .................By Durgin’s rough estimate, the mine occupies 100 square miles of high treeless prairie, about the same size as Washington DC. It contains an estimated three billion tonnes of coal reserves. It would take Peabody 25 or 30 years to mine it all.

    But it’s still not big enough.

    On the conference room wall, a map of North Antelope Rochelle shows two big shaded areas containing an estimated one billion tonnes of coal. Peabody is preparing to acquire leasing rights when they come up in about 2022 or 2024. “You’ve got to think way ahead,” said Durgin.

    In the fossil fuel jackpot that is Wyoming, it can be hard to see a future beyond coal. One of the few who can is LJ Turner, whose grandfather and father homesteaded on the high treeless plains nearly a century ago.

    Turner, who raises sheep and cattle, said his business had suffered in the 30 years of the mines’ explosive growth. Dust from the mines was aggravating pneumonia among his Red Angus calves. One year, he lost 25 calves, he said.


    On an average day, 21 long freight trains full of coal leave North Antelope Rochelle bound for 100 power plants across the country. But the company says that’s still not enough. As for climate change – that’s hardly Peabody’s concern.


    Chris Curran, a Peabody spokesman, refused to talk about climate change or the effects of Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions on the company’s profits. “They are only proposed regulations right now. Nothing is going on,” he said.

    It takes a call to the senior vice-president of corporate communications, Vic Svec, at the head office in St Louis before the company will discuss climate change. As it turns out, the company’s official position is that there is no such thing as human-caused climate change. “We do not question the climate changing. It has been changing for as long as man has recorded history,” Svec said. Climate change was a “modelled crisis”, he went on.

    “What we would say is that there is still far more understanding that is required for any type of impacts of C02 on carbon concerns.” Asked whether he saw climate change as a threat, Svec said: “Climate concerns are a threat to the extent that they lead to policies that hurt people.”


    Australia, where Peabody has three mines and which has the world’s second largest reserves of coal, has ramped up production 37% since 2000, helped by up to $3.5bn in government subsidies to the entire fossil fuel industry, a forthcoming report from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International will say.



  67. Buru Energy Completes Oil Production Testing at Ungani North 1 Well in WA

    by Buru Energy Ltd.

    Press Release
    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Buru Energy Limited, an Australian oil and gas exploration and production company, provided Wednesday the following update on operations at Ungani North 1 well in the Canning Basin, Western Australia.

    Ungani North 1 Completed for Oil Production Testing

    Since the last operations update, the first stage of the production test of the Ungani North 1 well has been successfully completed using DDH1 Rig 31.

    The operation included conditioning the fluid in the well and running the testing tubing completion string. The interpreted oil zone in the Ungani Dolomite is planned to be flow tested next week. DDH1 Rig 31 is now being rigged down and will be mobilized to the Commodore 1 well site with that well planned for spud later next week

  68. High hopes for another exciting discovery in Oz

    Thursday, 13 November 2014
    David Upton

    THE recent run of exciting discoveries by Australian explorers could be extended as early as next week with results from IPB Petroleum’s Pryderi-1 well in shallow water of the Browse Basin.


    Much obliged

    The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity

    By Richard Cooke

    Australian politicians love the idea of mutual obligation. But the disparities underlying it are becoming more and more extreme. Welfare recipients are painted as getting “something for nothing”, and pushed into more and more restrictive versions of the social contract. Meanwhile, corporate citizens are happy to take subsidies and shirk tax, and can expect little or no punishment if they break the law. Some are trying to excise themselves from society altogether. The government has talked tough about tax and regulation at the G20, while gutting enforcement agencies at the same time. Don’t expect that to change.

    “NO PORNOGRAPHY” is what the blue signs used to say, alongside “NO LIQUOR”. To make them more “respectful”, the pornography part was changed two years ago to read “PROHIBITED MATERIAL”. The most important part – the “PRESCRIBED AREA” at the top – stayed the same. There are hundreds of these warnings spread across the Northern Territory, most on the outskirts of indigenous communities, but some placed seemingly at random. Near the town of Emu Bore, there’s one on the lonely road leading to a single family’s property, reminding them again and again of the proscriptions. Outside Yuendumu, the locals have placarded their own counter-suggestion: “IF U WANT PORN GO TO CANBERRA”. These signs don’t just delineate the areas affected by the Northern Territory Emergency Response, better known as the Intervention. They also mark another border: the farthest reach of the idea of mutual obligation.


    Whether or not paid work has an essential dignity rather than a conferred one is open to argument. As the British journalist Jeffrey Bernard put it, “If there was something romantic about [work], the Duke of Westminster would be digging his own fucking garden, wouldn’t he?” But that argument is over for almost everyone in the Australian political class.

    Like the term “economic rationalism”, “mutual obligation” is a piece of Third Way political nomenclature that Australia has made its own.

    Workers are virtuous, but those on welfare are depicted as dole bludgers, job snobs and disability-pension rorters. This is a picture that has little relationship with reality. Unemployment in Australia is almost always a transient and unwilled state, and workers have little control over it. Most of the jobless have worked in the past, and will work again. The official unemployment figure is around 800,000 (and an even greater number of people, almost a million, are classified as underemployed). Total job vacancies in August this year numbered less than 150,000. All the virtue in the world can’t overcome a disparity like that.

    Compared to other countries with our level of development, Australia’s spending on unemployment benefits is already low and well targeted. So is our social-security spending. When the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a compendium of relevant data recently, it showed that regardless of age, household demography, income, wealth, or income source, Australian households in 2011–12 were less dependent on welfare than they were in 2003–04.

    There was no revelation here, nothing new. The reality of welfare in Australia has been known for a long time. But in the media, and even at policy level, anecdotes and age-old taboos about shirkers rule.


  70. Much obliged

    The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity

    By Richard Cooke

    The reality is that the assumptions underpinning work for the dole are not economic, but moral. As former Liberal leader John Hewson told the Saturday Paper, the program “is more about prejudice than it is about policy”.

    If you’re a welfare recipient, especially an indigenous one, your obligations are devised to be onerous to the point of humiliation. Recently the Coalition mooted plans to no longer accept “reasonable excuses” for missing an appointment with a job agency. Only “extreme” excuses would do, like a bushfire or the death of an immediate family member. Being mentally ill wasn’t an extreme excuse. Being assaulted was, but only if you were assaulted the day before the interview. “Someone subject to an assault a week before their failure would not have a reasonable excuse,” the Australian reported, as it would not “directly prevent them from meeting their requirement (unless they were still incapacitated as a consequence of the assault)”.

    Earlier this year, authorities used armed police in riot gear to remove children deemed at risk from an Aboriginal family. The children were later returned to their parents. The Intervention, a multi-million-dollar, multi-agency effort operating from a framework of new legislation, partly implemented by the military, was put together in just six days. By contrast, simply repairing the water supply of the Aboriginal community of Utopia took more than three months.

    The government routinely investigates welfare fraud using powers it originally sought to target terrorism. Centrelink now accesses more personal metadata than any other enforcement agency, more often even than the New South Wales Police Force. It’s a simple procedure: a Centrelink agent fills in a form, gets approval from elsewhere in their department, and is authorised to tap into personal phone records and email history. The subject is not informed.

    So far there’s not much evidence welfare fraud is out of control. Between 2006 and 2010, Centrelink conducted an average of 4 million compliance reviews each year, which covered 60% of its “customers”. The yield of cases referred for prosecution was on average 0.04%, or 3192 people. In 2012, fewer than 1500 people were referred for welfare fraud.

    Humiliating job-seekers is supposed to build their moral character, but even tepid criticism of business might lead to “uncertainty”.

    The Newstart Allowance, always set well below the poverty line, has now become so low that even groups like the Business Council of Australia say it should be increased. Government has so abandoned the unemployed that even employer groups feel compelled to advocate on their behalf, a situation that may be unique in the developed world. According to the current minister for employment, the ideal environment for a young unemployed person is one in which they apply for 40 jobs per month regardless of how many real vacancies are available, work 25 hours per week on menial tasks, and receive nothing in return for six months in every twelve.

    One of the ironies of mutual obligation as it’s now conceived is that the vulnerable receive tough treatment, while the powerful are regarded as delicate, unstable and easily upset.


  71. Much obliged

    The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity

    By Richard Cooke

    So while the most disadvantaged are being surveilled and constrained like never before, the social contract’s claim on the privileged has rarely been looser.

    Multinationals assert their right to government assistance, both direct and indirect, avail themselves of legal systems, infrastructure, political influence and the many other benefits of civil society, and at the same time often assert that they’re not really participants in society at all. In 2009, Apple Sales International’s accounts stated, for example, that “the company is not tax resident in any jurisdiction”. Its average tax rate across all jurisdictions in which it operates is 4%. In Australia, it claims among other things to be a part Bermuda-based, part Singapore-based company selling second-hand Irish electronics. Last year this arrangement let it pay $36.4 million in tax on more than $6 billion in revenues. The then financial services minister, Arthur Sinodinos, “declined to criticise their actions”, according to the Australian.

    The American economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz is less reserved. There’s an asymmetry, he says, between corporations taking benefits from legislation, subsidy and other government actions, and their willingness to contribute. “That kind of asymmetry is, I would say, understandable, because they’re trying to hide any income. They’re acting on behalf of their shareholders – but, we might say, rob the rest of the society to do it.

    “You can see that across the board. Apple in the United States, its very existence almost depends on the internet. Things like the iPhone wouldn’t exist without the internet. And that was created by the government. The company uses American institutional infrastructure, the legal system, the courts – and it doesn’t pay taxes.”

    The company now has greater cash reserves than the US government itself. Apple’s huge war chest is the result of an aggressive form of tax minimisation referred to as base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). There are different kinds of tax architecture that multinationals use to pare down their bills, but perhaps most common is a complex system of profit shifting and reporting known as the “Double Irish Dutch Sandwich” technique. Take Google, for example. The billions the tech company earns from advertising in Australia are paid to a company called Google Ireland Limited, which then pays them to a Dutch subsidiary, which then pays the money back to another Irish company. Google is an Irish company, except when it is in Ireland, where it is a Bermudan company.


    ...............Another Senate inquiry, pushed by the Greens and lacking the support of the government, will examine large-scale tax evasion. There will be well-meaning declarations made at G20. But within the ATO, few expect significant changes. Now the emphasis isn’t on enforcement but “settlement”, avoiding litigation in secret. Not threatening any jobs. More like an agreement among friends.

    That suits the government. You might call it a “general statement of principle”. Besides, their attention is elsewhere. is running stories on scam welfare recipients again. Under the headline, ‘It’s so easy to fudge a bludge: Online guides used to con doctors into giving out disability support pensions’, the yarn outlines how web forum users share information about how to maintain benefits.

    On the web forums themselves, most people are trying to figure out how to get by. “If you do a bit of volunteer work, a bit of study, do some part-time work, you cut your own throat,” wrote one “con artist”. That’s apparently one of the more common kinds of scam among the disabled – trying to work.M

  72. G20 Brisbane: Five corporate tax havens around the world and how the summit can crack down on them

    ..................The Lowy Institute's Mike Callaghan said the issue was a complex one that will not be resolved in a single leaders' summit.

    "But what you need to see in Brisbane is what I call a down payment - something that you can point to to say, 'this is a demonstration that G20 is trying to respond to the way global companies operate'," he told ABC News Online.


    It's not going to happen - we really are a paradise for white collar crime. As is the US.




    Amnesty International's indigenous peoples' rights manager Tammy Solonec said there was no plan to help people evicted from Ooombulgurri integrate into Wyndham or other towns, leaving them "highly traumatised".

    "They were put in dongas for 18 months, inappropriate housing, no compensation," she said.

    She said one of the men who stayed to the end was ultimately evicted, and he took his own life soon after in Wyndham.

    She predicted a repeat of what happened when Oombulgurri was shut.

    "We saw that with Oombulgurri, which had ripple effects all throughout the Kimberley, because it displaces other people and there's already not enough housing," she said.

    "We're concerned about lack of strategy."

    She said governments needed to support communities rather than shutting them down.

    Greens MLC Robin Chapple has gone one step further, accusing the Government of peddling a racially-motivated agenda.

    "It's smacks of the assimilation policies over the early 60s," he said.

    "It's horrendous. This is a diabolical, in my view, highly racially motivated agenda."

    The Barnett Government has said it was forced to accept a $90 million payment from the Commonwealth to take over responsibility for the remote communities.

  73. WA remote closures ‘apartheid’, says Warren Mundine

    WARREN Mundine has accused the West Australian government of “infrastructure apartheid” by threatening Aboriginal people and treating them differently to white communities.

    The plan to slowly shut more than half the remote communities in the state has also drawn an ­impassioned response from the Bishop of ­Broome, Christopher Saunders, whose diocese takes in more than 100 Kimberley communities.

    West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has admitted his government would be forced to close up to 150 of the state’s remote Aboriginal homelands after accepting a one-off $90 million payment from the Abbott government to take over responsibility for municipal and essential services.

    The South Australian government has warned that it too would have to shut communities if it was offered an inadequate funding deal by the federal government.

    Bishop Saunders has accused federal and state governments of “turning their backs on the needs of our nation’s first Aust­ralians and … promising a new dispossess­ion that can only result in further injustices and gross sufferin­g”.

    Mr Mundine, the head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advis­ory Council, met federal Indig­enous ­Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion about the issue and concluded that the Barnett government was using a funding stoush with the federal government to renege on its obligations to fund services for all its citizens, regardless of colour.

    “They should be providing ­municipal services for all people in their state,’’ he said.

    “How can it be that everyone in the state except Aboriginals get the funding, that’s where my anger is. It’s almost like an infrastructure apartheid system.

    “He (Barnett) is moving into a very dangerous area.

    “My argument is that if they are supplying services to communities of the same size of Aboriginal communities but they are not providing them to Aboriginal communities, I call that infrastructure apartheid.

    “This has been going on for decades from state and territory governments and it has got to stop.’’

    Bishop Saunders said the argument that the communities deserved destruction because they needed subsidies was flawed.

    “There is not one shire council in the Kimberley that is financially viable and all these receive subsidies,’’ he said.

    “And yet there is no protest against their continued existence, nor have they been threatened with closure or told they should move to larger towns.’’

    Bishop Saunders, who oversees four priests who live permanently in larger communities and with others who regularly visit communities, said the social dividends from forcing people into towns would be “catastrophic”.

    “Never have state or federal authorities been capable of managing the needs of marginalised town-dwellers,” he said.

    “The numbers of Aboriginal people who live on the edge now in towns like Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek and ­Kununurra are overwhelming services provided by agencies.

    “And now, the addition of people from 100 or more communities to these centres will simply exacerbate a situation that is already appalling.”

    South Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ian Hunter has accused the federal government of ignoring repeated warnings about the dire consequences of its decis­ion to stop funding for essential services in remote communities.

    “At least Western Australia ­received $90m,’’ Mr Hunter said.

    “The federal government only offered South Australia $10m to wipe its hands of all future responsibility.’’ Remote Aboriginal areas need­ed special attention because they had no local council to service them and no rateable tax base with which to ­establish local government.

  74. Fury over one-day Aurukun bauxite mine bid

    THE Queensland government has been denounced for squandering a historic opportunity to give Aborigines a stake in developing a rich bauxite deposit on Cape York, as new details emerged of a bidding process that opened and closed in a single day.

    Former Comalco and MIM chief executive Nick Stump said the selection of Swiss-based miner and commodity trader Glencore International as preferred proponent for the Aurukun development was a disgrace, undercutting efforts to share the proceeds of mining with indigenous communities. The state Liberal ­National Party government ­advised Mr Stump’s joint venture with local traditional owners, ­Aurukun Bauxite Development, that it had lost out to Glencore on the same day competitive bidding was reopened in August.

    The decision may now be challenged in the courts as an abuse of process, while the federal government is under mounting pressure to intervene.

    ABD managing director John Benson said the bidding process was flawed and baffling. “It just doesn’t make sense, the way they went about it,’’ he told The Australian. “It puzzles everybody. I certainly don’t understand it.’’

    In a blistering letter to federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, Mr Stump, the ABD chairman, complained of being personally offended by Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, who said during a stormy meeting words to the effect that his job was to “protect’’ the indigenous community of Aurukun from “people like’’ Mr Stump and Mr Benson, a mining entrepreneur with a chequered history of project development. “In my 45 years in the industry, when discussing projects with governments in countries such as Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and every shade of politics in Queensland, I have never been so outraged,’’ Mr Stump fumed in his September 29 letter to Senator Scullion.

    The veteran mining industry leader told The Australian: “Quite frankly, the embarrassment of that meeting was how Mr Seeney sought to treat our Cape York colleagues. Dismissive, aggressive … he was a man without any understanding in terms of the commitments he had made.’’

    Mr Seeney agreed last night that Mr Stump had “captured the flavour’’ of the exchange. But he insisted the bidding process was fair, and the fact that one of his departmental officers had advised ABD that competitive bids were reinstated on August 28 and settled that day in favour of Glencore was a “technical formality’’.


  75. Lost opportunity for Wik people

    FOR Gina Castelain, the future of the Aurukun bauxite field is intensely personal business.

    Her grandfather was involved in test drilling the vast deposit of red ore that spreads to the north and south of the town, nestled near an estuary teeming with barramundi on the western side of Cape York Peninsula.

    Back then, French company Pechiney was in the driving seat with the development rights. Nothing happened, while to the north the bauxite port of Weipa boomed.

    Then the Chinese came along, state-owned Chalco promising a smelter along with the mine and the hope of jobs for a community that was mostly employed in work for the dole projects, riddled with problems born of boredom, grog, gambling and drugs.

    Ms Castelain, 30, said people jumped at the opportunity to be part of a joint venture to develop the long-promised bauxite mine and take control of their future.

    Instead, they’re looking at a lost opportunity after the Queensland government’s decision to go with Swiss-based Glencore as preferred proponent over the local start-up, Aurukun Bauxite Development.


    “We actually wanted to be the principals and have meaningful participation in the development of the resource,’’ Ms Castelain said. “I can tell you as someone who has dealt with mining companies, they promise the world and they never deliver.


    “I am really disappointed that the state government does not want to support what we want to achieve here. We don’t want to be welfare dependent, we don’t want handouts, we want to control where we are going with this project.’’

    Ms Castelain hopes “reason’’ will prevail, and her Wik Way people and the Wik will end up with some form of equity in the mine, whomever develops it.

    Glencore says nothing is off the table, including the deal proposed by Aurukun Bauxite Development to give traditional owners and native title holders a 15 per cent stake in the operation, and a direct stream from future earnings.

  76. The Pom Tony Abbott with his old Pommy view of 1800 style Pommy coal mines........."..if it wasn't for coal we would never have had a Pommy Empire...'

    People would have to wonder what the headlines could have been with say Turnbull as PM...


    Australia a 'blocker' in G20 fight against climate change, say charities

    Reluctance to commit to contributing to Green Climate Fund is criticised by Oxfam and World Vision as US leads the way

    Australia has been labelled a “blocker” for being the main country resisting a G20 commitment to the global Green Climate Fund even as Barack Obama was using the same meeting to pledge $3bn to it.

    As revealed by Guardian Australia on Saturday, Australia was holding out against pressure from Europe and the US for G20 leaders to back pledges to the fund, which helps poor countries adapt to climate change and is seen as critical to a successful international deal at a United Nations meeting in Paris next year.

    A reference to “encouraging” countries to contribute to the fund remains in brackets in the draft final communique – meaning it has not yet been agreed – with the principal objections coming from Australia. It is understood the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, and his advisers will have to decide whether to allow the language to proceed in the consensus-driven G20 process.


    G20: Obama puts climate change in spotlight as Australian agenda sidelined

    US president pulls focus away from economic growth with announcement of emissions deal with China and call to secure a strong global climate agreement next year

    Climate change was forced to the top of the G20 agenda on Saturday, despite the objections of the host nation Australia, after Barack Obama urged the world to rally behind a new global agreement and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called it “the defining issue of our times”.

    The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, had argued climate discussions would distract from the G20’s economic policy focus and should be left to other UN-led meetings.

    But in a one-two manoeuvre that caught Australia off guard, Obama upstaged Abbott and made certain it was the talk of the conference anyway. First came the joint US/China post-2020 greenhouse emission reduction targets announced in Beijing on the eve of the summit and then the $3bn Green Climate Fund pledge made in a keynote speech as Abbott was greeting other world leaders across town.

    “No nation is immune and every nation has a responsibility to do its part,” Obama said. “You will recall at the beginning I said the US and Australia has a lot in common. Well one of the things we have in common is we produce a lot of carbon … which means we’ve got to step up.”


    AND no shirtfront !

    BUT Putin did give Abbott a two fingered salute !