Archive for March, 2013
The West Australian
Option: A floating LNG platform. Illustration: Royal Dutch Shell
Premier Colin Barnett has taken aim at new Federal Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray’s support for offshore floating LNG processing on Woodside’s $40 billion Browse gas project, calling it a “tragedy” that would cost land-based Australian jobs.
The Premier said though Mr Gray had a strong industry background, his support of FLNG technology would hurt the local economy.
The West Australian
Annabelle Sandes © A whale and calf swim together off James Price Point north of Broome
Environmentalists claim Woodside has drastically underestimated the number of whales that swim in the waters off James Price Point as they step up their campaign against the proposed gas hub.
A new report by the Kimberley Community Whale Research project says between 12,108 and 15,876 humpback whales passed within 8km of the James Price Point shoreline during the 2012 migration season, compared to 1000 that Woodside’s global consultant RPS estimated would do so.
The State Government is trying to block moves by Aboriginal families to lodge a claim on land earmarked for the Kimberley gas hub, in a bid to hold together its land deal.
The families who signed off on the $1.5 billion deal to give up land at James Price Point for an LNG precinct remain divided over whether it should proceed.
The West Australian
Unions have savaged a senior Gillard Government minister’s call for Woodside’s $40 billion Browse gas project to be developed via massive floating vessels, saying it would threaten thousands of jobs and local manufacturing workshops.
Special Minister of State and former Woodside executive Gary Gray made the provocative comments toWestBusiness on Monday, arguing there was far more to be gained for the WA economy and future generations by developing expertise in the cutting-edge technology than pursing land-based processing.
His comments came in the context of speculation that the Gillard Government will withdraw its support for the controversial James Price Point site when it hands down its imminent environmental ruling on the development.
THE frontrunner in the tightly contested West Australian seat of Kimberley is a supporter of a contentious gas hub in the region who could retain the seat for Labor with preferences from a Greens candidate vehemently opposed to the project.
Josie Farrer was last night leading the primary vote count after receiving a significant boost from remote polling booths. The Liberals Jenny Bloom was in second place, followed by the Greens’ Chris Maher.
The Australian Workers Union says thousands of jobs will be lost if WA gas projects use floating LNG technology.
The comments follow those by federal Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, who has come out in support of the technology.
Mr Gray, who formerly worked for the oil and gas company Woodside, says a floating platform would put Australia at the cutting edge of technology.
Shell is using the technology to develop the Prelude project and is proposing to its joint venture partner Woodside that it process gas offshore, rather than onshore at James Price Point in the Kimberley.
Here’s the Environs Kimberley WA State Election Scorecard
Announcements made since EK published the scorecard.
Liberal Party policies: Kimberley
- Continue to push for a giant gas hub at James Price Point.
- Create one of Australia’s biggest national parks - Wanjina National Park. (NOTE – Liberal Party policy does not prevent mining in National Parks)
- $15million to create a Great Kimberley Marine Park stretching from Talbot Bay to the Northern Territory border.
- The park will cover more than 30,000 square kilometres of the Kimberley’s State waters. It will be second only to the Great Barrier Reef as Australia’s biggest marine park.
- The Liberal-led Government committed $63million for the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, which will create the State’s largest, interconnected system of marine and terrestrial parks.
- Liberals are negotiating with a range of Traditional Owner groups on joint management of these parks.
ALP policies: Kimberley
- Establish the Great North Kimberley Marine Park, extending from King Sound in the west to Cambridge Gulf in the east, to protect about 9000 kms of coastline.
- Establish a 160 square kilometre national park to protect Horizontal Falls.
- Establish the Fitzroy River National Park from the Geikie Gorge National Park along the Fitzroy River to the north and along the Margaret River to the east. (NOTE – Labor Party policy is for no mining in National Parks however in the past land has been excised from National Parks for mining)
- Commence negotiations with the Mitchell Plateau bauxite tenement holders to relinquish their interest and then legislate to ensure the Mitchell Plateau is protected from mining in perpetuity.
- WA Labor will also allocate $4million over four years to employ 10 indigenous rangers to help manage the new Fitzroy River National Park.
- Not support uranium mining in the Kimberley
- Will not support Coal Seam Gas fracking (NOTE – most onshore gas in the Kimberley is shale gas)
Greens policies: Kimberley
- No gas hub at James Price Point.
- Create Great Kimberley Marine Park.
- Prevent fracking and coal mining in the Canning Basin/Fitzroy River catchment.
- Not support uranium mining in the Kimberley.
- Not allow new dams in the Kimberley.
- Develop sustainable economic futures for the region and redirect ‘Royalties for Regions’ funds away from mining subsidies to communities.
Nationals policies: Kimberley
- No environmental policy announcements made.
To hear from the candidates go to ABC Kimberley’s podcast of the candidate forum http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/03/07/3710547.htm?site=kimberley
The Department of State Development (DSD), proponent for the gas precinct at James Price Point, has sent its proposal to the Federal government. The proposal must be described in detail and DSD has to explain how it has addressed concerns expressed in the 11,000 submissions on the draft and 244 appeals to the Environmental Protection Authority. DSD also had to show it has met the terms of reference for the agreement with the Feds in 2008 about their assessment of the project.
DSD would have expected plain sailing from now on. However, headwinds are causing turbulence for the Premier’s Department. The Wilderness Society WA (TWS) and Richard Hunter, Goolarabooloo Traditional Owner, have taken the EPA to the Supreme Court over conflicts of interest by the Board during the decision-making process for approving James Price Point as a site for the world’s largest gas refineries. Besides taking on the might of the State with its taxpayer-funded lawyers, TWS and Hunter are facing the prospect of Woodside joining the action with the EPA. Woodside made $2.98 billion net profit last year…
Full story in the EK newsletter.
Make sure you let Tony Burke know how you feel about this (see our letter writing guide on our website)
In a first for the Kimberley, Monsoon Vine Thickets, a rainforest ecosystem, has been recognised as Nationally Endangered by the Australian government.
Environs Kimberley and Indigenous rangers from the Dampier Peninsula have worked together for several years to protect, monitor and manage Monsoon Vine Thickets (MVTs) and they welcome news that the rainforest ecosystem will now be protected under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). MVTs were nominated by Environs Kimberley in 2009 and 2010, and the ‘Endangered’ category listing recognises that this ecosystem faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future.
“This is the first listing of a Threatened Ecological Community in the Kimberley under the EPBC Act (1999), and recognises the national environmental significance of MVTs. Our collaborative research found that MVT’s are under extreme threat from larger, hotter, more frequent fires than in the past. This threat, along with weeds, feral animals, clearing and development pressures are among the reasons they have been listed,” Environs Kimberley Projects Coordinator, Louise Beames said.
Full media release here: Media Release: Kimberley ‘rainforest’ listed as endangered by Australian government