THE state government's plans for a gas processing hub on the Kimberley coast have received a boost from the region's traditional owners, which have said they are ready to negotiate a deal for a large-scale liquefied natural gas development on Aboriginal l
THE state government's plans for a gas processing hub on the Kimberley coast have received a boost from the region's traditional owners, which have said they are ready to negotiate a deal for a large-scale liquefied natural gas development on Aboriginal land.
The Kimberley Land Council said the Goolarabooloo Jabirr-Jabirr people had given authorisation for it to negotiate a deal for an LNG hub in the James Price Point area.
Premier Colin Barnett selected James Price Point, north of Broome, as the preferred location for the gas hub.
A meeting in Broome last week elected a committee of traditional owners to take part in the negotiations. The decision was the culmination of a year long regional consultation with Aboriginal people to identify a site.
The negotiations will involve the state government, KLC and Woodside Energy, which is evaluating the Kimberley coast as one potential site for its Browse Basin project.
Woodside is also evaluating the merits of piping the Browse gas 1,000 kilometres to the Burrup Peninsula, for processing at an existing LNG plant.
The state government has set March 31 2009 as the deadline to reach an in-principle agreement.
Mr Barnett is also hoping to convince Japan's Inpex group to relocate its Ichthys LNG project from Darwin to the Kimberley hub.
KLC chief executive Wayne Bergmann said traditional owners supported development on their country but not at any cost.
"Traditional owners are ready to go into negotiations over a development deal on their country area to ensure long term jobs and benefits are delivered to traditional owners and communities in the Kimberley. Traditional owners want to be economic partners in their land. They are not victims to be compensated."
Mr Bergman said an LNG plant built on Aboriginal land must deliver ongoing economic participation for traditional owners and the Kimberley community while protecting the area's cultural and environmental heritage.