15/04/2009 - 17:59

Broad agreement on Kimberley LNG hub

15/04/2009 - 17:59

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Premier Colin Barnett announced late today that the government had reached a "broad agreement" with the Kimberley Land Council and Woodside over the establishment of an LNG precinct north of Broome.

Premier Colin Barnett announced late today that the government has reached a "broad agreement" with the Kimberley Land Council and Woodside over the establishment of an LNG precinct north of Broome.

Mr Barnett's statement did not include any details of the agreement.

He said the next step was the development of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement in negotiation with the Traditional Owners, registered by early 2010, and the environmental approvals process completed by late 2010.

"This would enable a foundation proponent, such as Woodside to begin construction (of an LNG plant) by mid to late 2011," he said.

Woodside is evaluating two options for developing its Browse Basin gas fields off the Kimberley coast: a new LNG plant at James Price Point, north of Broome, or piping the gas to an existing LNG plant near Karratha.

Kimberley Land Council chief executive Wayne Bergmann said in a statement that traditional owners have given in-principle approval for the site of the LNG hub.

"The decision paves the way for cultural and environmental studies to be undertaken before the final agreement on the site is given by Traditional Owners at the end of the year," Mr Bergmjann said.

"Traditional owners have said yes to jobs and economic opportunities, but not at any price. The in-principle agreement is subject to cultural and environmental studies."

Labor leader Eric Ripper congratulated the Kimberley Land Council on achieving a successful outcome in negotiations with the State Government to resolve native title and indigenous heritage issues relating to the proposed LNG hub in the Kimberley.

"The KLC has maintained a mature and constructive approach throughout these complex negotiations and its hard work has resulted in significant benefits for the indigenous people of the Kimberley and for all Western Australians," Mr Ripper said.

"The next challenge is to ensure that all environmental approvals required for this significant development be completed in partnership with the Federal Government.

 

 

The Premier's, the KLC's and Mr Ripper's statements are pasted below:

 


Agreement on LNG precinct a high-water mark for WA's future

The State Government has reached broad agreement with the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) and Woodside about the establishment of a site for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) precinct at James Price Point on the Kimberley coast.

Meeting in Broome today, Traditional Owners voted to endorse the project.

Premier Colin Barnett thanked the Traditional Owners and committed to work with them on the on-going development of the precinct. He said the broad agreement provided a groundbreaking framework for comprehensive native title and cultural heritage agreements, land tenure arrangements and benefits to the community.

"While more remains to be done, I am pleased by the progress made in such a short time. We are well on our way to making a significant positive impact on the lives of Aboriginal people and delivering a lasting, positive legacy for future generations in the Kimberley through responsible economic development," Mr Barnett said.

"It is testament to the dedication of this Government and everyone involved that we have accomplished more in several months than had previously been achieved in eight years."

The Premier said the hard work and commitment of the parties involved in the negotiation process was testament to the importance of the project to the State and indigenous people in the Kimberley.

"I would encourage Woodside's joint venture partners to now formalise the selection of the Kimberley as their preferred processing option," he said.

Mr Barnett also acknowledged the support and assistance of the Federal Government; Mr Bill Gray, the facilitator appointed by the Commonwealth to help with the process; and Kimberley MLA Carol Martin

"The efforts by all parties to find solutions to many complex challenges cannot be underestimated," he said.

"The next step is the development of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement in negotiation with the Traditional Owners, registered by early 2010 and the environmental approvals process completed by late 2010.

"This would enable a foundation proponent, such as Woodside to begin construction by mid to late 2011.

"Any development of the site would be done to the highest environmental standards.

"We are talking about the sophisticated, high technology on-shore processing of natural gas pumped from off-shore fields into LNG."

The precinct at James Price Point would occupy about 1,000 hectares. With accommodation, ancillary services and an appropriate land and sea buffer, the total area may be up to 3,500 hectares.

The site was subject to detailed technical studies and a formal, site-specific environmental assessment before development proceeded and the Government remained committed to ensuring the unique cultural and environmental values of the precinct area and the broader Kimberley region were appropriately protected.

 

Traditional Owners approval of gas site dependent on cultural and environment protections

 

Kimberley Traditional Owners have today given in-principle approval for the site of the proposed Kimberley LNG hub at James Price Point in North Western Australia.

Wayne Bergmann, Chief Executive Kimberley Land Council said the decision paves the way for cultural and environmental studies to be undertaken before the final agreement on the site is given by Traditional Owners at the end of the year.

"Traditional owners have said yes to jobs and economic opportunities, but not at any price. The in-principle agreement is subject to cultural and environmental studies.

"Today's decision ensures that Traditional Owners will continue to be part of the process for deciding the development that take place on their land.

"We want training and jobs, we want business opportunities for indigenous people and we want to protect the environment and our heritage sites," said Wayne Bergmann.

The in-principle decision has come after 16 months of consultations facilitated by the Kimberley Land Council to ensure development in the Kimberley comes with the informed consent of Aboriginal People.

"Over a hundred members of the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr people, were able to have their voice heard as they voted for the in-principle agreement. This has been an historic moment for Traditional Owners who have been given a chance to take ownership and responsibility of their future and their land," said Mr Bergmann.

The in-principle agreement is subject to:

- Detailed heritage assessments on the land around James Price Point carried out by the KLC and Traditional Owners;

- The environmental assessment and approvals;

- An Indigenous land use agreement.

The studies are expected to take up to seven months to complete.

"Traditional Owners have put the highest value on sustaining our cultural heritage and the integrity of our environment, while also taking responsibility for developing opportunities to improve the economic and social conditions of Kimberley Aboriginal people," said Mr Bergmann.

Progress on Kimberley development welcomed


Labor leader Eric Ripper has congratulated the Kimberley Land Council on achieving a successful outcome in negotiations with the State Government to resolve native title and indigenous heritage issues relating to the proposed LNG hub in the Kimberley.

"The KLC has maintained a mature and constructive approach throughout these complex negotiations and its hard work has resulted in significant benefits for the indigenous people of the Kimberley and for all Western Australians," Mr Ripper said.

"The next challenge is to ensure that all environmental approvals required for this significant development be completed in partnership with the Federal Government.

"The Premier's clumsy interventions delayed and almost derailed this negotiation process and he must not attempt to ride roughshod over the important environmental approvals process."

Mr Ripper also paid tribute to the small band of senior public servants who have worked diligently over the past 18 months to secure the agreement.

"This process began in 2007 and this agreement comes in the wake of substantial ground work done by members of the Northern Development Taskforce. These public servants deserve our praise for having worked so closely and successfully with traditional owners and the Commonwealth Government," he said.

"The challenge now is to ensure that the proposed LNG hub site is developed in a way that ensures the least possible environmental impact on the unique and pristine Kimberley."

Mr Ripper again called on the Barnett Government to ensure the James Price Point site would be a genuine hub and consequently the only Kimberley site where LNG processing would be allowed.

He also called for details of the State's arrangement for Woodside to access the site to be released.

"Every Western Australian has the right to see the full details, and I call on the Liberal Government to release the agreement so it can be publicly scrutinised by Western Australian taxpayers," he said.

"The hub is central to the development of the State's LNG industry and the Government's approach to all approvals must be open to proper scrutiny."

 

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