Broome based conservation organisation Environs Kimberley is calling on the WA Minister for Ports Hon. David Michael to halt drilling on a sensitive reef near Broome.
Entrance Point Reef is a well-loved marine wonderland with over 40 species of coral, clown fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Locals regard it as a premier land-based fishing spot and a popular reef exploring area.
Drilling started in the last couple of days in preparation for construction of an industrial floating jetty mainly for the oil and gas industry. Already, damage has been done.
Questions in Parliament by Greens MLC Brad Pettit revealed this week that despite an announcement that construction had begun on the project it has yet to receive final approvals from the Port of Broome -
The final design, “…requires a works approval by Kimberley Ports Authority and KMSB will obtain an independent design verification report.”
It was also revealed in Parliament through other questions that Minister for Ports David Michael admitted the, “...reef has not been assessed for its environmental significance.”
“Yesterday we found a drilling machine that smashed part of the reef and destroyed very old red coral. We are shocked that this is happening when there hasn’t been an environmental assessment of the reef as revealed in the WA Parliament this week,” said Environs Kimberley Director of Strategy Martin Pritchard.
“We are calling on Minister for Ports David Michael to stop this destructive drilling on Entrance Point Reef which is a premier land-based fishing spot and the most popular reef exploring area in Broome. The reef has not been assessed for its environmental significance and there’s an urgent need to do that before more damage is done.”
“We have also found out that despite announcing the beginning of construction the proposal hasn’t had final approval from the Port. It’s also been revealed that the design of the floating wharf was tested in a wave pool in Copenhagen, Denmark. We are concerned that this facility would be unable to cope with cyclonic conditions and big waves. It could be smashed to bits in such an event and we’re calling for the engineering design to be made public.”
“There are also serious concerns that there has not been a dinosaur footprint survey in this area, everyone knows how important the Entrance Point area is for the 130 million footprints and we’re calling on Federal Minister for the Environment Tanya Plibersek to intervene here and make sure none are destroyed.”
We are disappointed to hear the announcement that construction has begun on the Kimberley Marine Support Base in Broome.
“Work started on the floating jetty last week with the company and WA government saying it will boost the region's oil and gas industries as well as tourism and agriculture,” ABC Kimberley reported.
Environs Kimberley’s Martin Pritchard said it was surprising that the reported $200 million investment is based on revenue from projects that have yet to be approved. Report on ABC Kimberley -
We are extremely surprised that the Cook government is facilitating this given that, according to the Kimberley Development Commission, it’s based on revenue from the Roebuck Basin - as yet, no oil or gas discoveries have been made in the Roebuck Basin. Browse Basin project by Woodside – no final investment decision has been made. Cruise ships – already dock at the existing jetty. Live export of cattle – already go through the Port of Broome and are high risk given the potential for the industry to be shut down by disease. Shipping containers – there are no industries using large amounts of containers.
This proposed development, supposedly based on industrialising the Kimberley through oil and gas, comes at a time when we’ve been clearly told that no new fossil fuel projects can be opened if we want a safe planet. It’s also in the middle of the Entrance Point reef platform which bears over 40 species of coral and an intricate web of marine life.