Environs Kimberley is seriously concerned about the McGowan Government granting $52 million for a supply base to support operations for the Browse Basin oil and gas project. This would include a chemical processing and storage facility in Broome.
A supply base at the Broome port was proposed in 2009, but the Department of Planning and Infrastructure at the time found that it could have ‘adverse impacts on the tourism industry’.
A report by Worley Parsons stated that the DPI was concerned that the ‘…population impact and FIFO personnel was seen as potentially adverse. There was fear of affecting the “sense of place” and Broome becoming an industrial town. This was being considered with respect to Broome being one of the three known tourism marketing points for Western Australia.’
The report also said that ‘…industrial activity also raises the risk of spills of contaminant (such as fuel and chemicals) and other polluting events.’
A Curtin Sustainable Tourism Centre report stated that a supply base could change 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.’
“We are shocked that the McGowan Government is supporting the industrialisation of Broome through a supply base and chemical facility on the Broome Peninsula, which will threaten tourism, one of the most important industries in the town and the Kimberley,” said Environs Kimberley Director Martin Pritchard.
“The government’s former Department of Planning and Infrastructure stated very clearly that an oil and gas supply base in Broome risked damaging the tourism industry, so why would any modern government do that?” asked Mr Pritchard. “We are calling for a social impact assessment of any proposal for a Woodside oil and gas supply base before decisions are made.
“Woodside’s Browse basin development would be an extremely heavy polluter and a climate change disaster.
“This is the last thing we need for the Kimberley. A supply base could be built elsewhere, in a less sensitive place,” Mr Pritchard said.
WA Government Budget announcement:
Supply Base and Chemical Facility -—The Kimberley Ports Authority is expected to spend $52 million at Broome Port over 2022-23 to 2024-25, including $45 million for the construction of a supply base to support oil and gas operations in the Browse Basin and $7 million for base infrastructure for an associated chemical processing and storage facility.
 WorleyParsons (2009) Site assessment for a supply base to support the Browse Basin. Assessment of Broome, Derby, Point Torment and James Price Point. Report for the Dept. of State Development, Western Australia.
 Curtin Sustainable Tourism Centre (2010) Kimberley Whale Coast Tourism: Opportunities and Threats.
Photo: Oil and gas supply boat run aground on the reef outside Broome Port/EK Director Martin Pritchard Credit Damian Kelly