Broome is being industrialised — now — without community consultation or consent, and with no real debate about what it means for the future of Broome and the region.
The Shire of Broome’s Economic Development Strategy 2021-2026 says that it will advocate for Broome to be the logistics supply hub for mining, oil and gas, and agriculture. What this means is more and bigger trucks driving through Broome; oil and gas tankers at Broome port; pressure for bigger and more expensive roads; more planes and helicopters over Broome; increased risks of accidents and pollution, increased water and energy demand and more pressure on housing and cost of living. None of this is being properly explained, costed or planned for.
Entrance Point - Damian Kelly
We already know that industrialisation is a major threat to the tourism industry and Broome’s natural environment. This is the advice WorleyParsons (an engineering and consulting company) gave to the WA Government in 2009 as to the potential for an oil and gas supply base in Broome:
“[It] will alter the character of the town, shifting its image from a place for relaxation and nature and culture-based recreation to that of heavy industry and frenetic, large-scale industrial activity.”
Broome is known as a world-class tourism destination, with clean beaches, intact nature and rich cultural history, and is a gateway to the internationally renowned Kimberley.
People live here to immerse themselves in nature, whether that’s in the world’s most intact tropical savannah and coastline or out on the ocean watching the largest Humpback Whale population, which comes here to breed. Camping and fishing are high on people’s list.
It is a restful haven from big cities and mining regions like the Pilbara, and people want it to stay that way.
Dinosaur footprint Entrance Point Reef - Damian Kelly
This week we have seen the damage done by drilling investigations at one of Broome’s favourite coastal playgrounds, Entrance Point Reef. This is part of the investigations for an industrial floating jetty, mainly for the oil and gas industry.
Drilling rig at Entrance Point Reef - Martin Pritchard
There’s also the $52 million taxpayer funds for an oil and gas supply base that the McGowan Government promised. The Kimberley Mineral Sands mine is another major industrial development that will have big impacts on Broome. There’s also the proposal by Buru Energy to export oil from the Port.
With local government elections now on, which close on Saturday 21st October, it's important that as many people as possible go out and vote. If you’re in the Shire of Broome, check out the responses of candidates to our recent questionnaire, which asks for their views about industrialisation.