Barnett Strikes Deal With Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr Native Title Claim Group

Barnett Strikes Deal With Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr Native Title Claim Group

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Consent Agreement Reached For Kimberley LNG Precinct

Victor P Taffa

An historic agreement has been reached between the State Government, Woodside Energy Ltd and the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr (GJJ) native title claim group that ensures Western Australia and the Kimberley benefit from the development of the natural gas resources in the Browse Basin.

The Traditional Owners of the land at James Price Point, located 60 km north of Broome, have agreed to relinquish their native title interests in the 3,500 ha of land and water required for the precinct, in return for substantial benefits for indigenous people and continuing engagement in environmental and cultural heritage management at the precinct.

The precinct represents 1.5 % of the total GJJ native title claim area (251,500 ha of land and water).

Premier Colin Barnett said the agreement was an important milestone in a four-year process to select and secure the most appropriate site in the Kimberley for the LNG Precinct.

“The State Government’s preference has always been to reach an agreement. While we did start a formal process under the Native Title Act to acquire the land, we continued negotiating with the traditional owners to obtain their consent. These processes ran in parallel and I congratulate the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claim group and the Kimberley Land Council on a lot of hard work and a strong commitment to the negotiations.” Premier Barnett said.

“I recognise there were strong differences within the group and reaching a decision has not been easy, however this is an important act of self determination that will generate real economic opportunities and real jobs for indigenous people over many years.”

“The agreement will give indigenous people in the Kimberley a higher level of economic independence and is a real and practical milestone in the reconciliation process.”

The State Government is conscious of the region’s unique characteristics and has incorporated a world class environmental management regime in the agreement.

James Price Point is a remote site with no nearby settlement. The land will be under State Government control with sites leased to Woodside and any future proponents.  When the precinct is no longer required the land will be remediated and returned to traditional owners as freehold.

When finalised, the agreement, which includes significant commitments from both the State Government, and from Woodside Energy Ltd as a foundation proponent at the precinct, will be the most significant native title agreement in Australia’s history.

The agreement establishes a unique and comprehensive regime of benefits both for Traditional Owners of the precinct site, and also to indigenous communities across the Dampier Peninsula and beyond.

These benefits are valued at more than $1.5 Billion over the life of the Woodside project and include:

  • Funds to establish businesses and investment;
  • Funds for joint ventures;
  • Funds for the building of homes for GJJ and other indigenous people;
  • Funds for education initiatives;
  • Land for housing and businesses;
  • Funds to support initiatives to address the social impacts of the precinct;
  • Direct employment through the construction and operation of the precinct;
  • Indirect employments through businesses maintaining and servicing the precinct;
  • State Government (Port Authority and LandCorp) and proponent training programs;
  • State Government (Port Authority and LandCorp) and proponent employment obligations and targets;
  • Contract and tendering opportunities for GJJ businesses;
  • Funds to enable traditional owners of the Kimberley to support, promote and protect Aboriginal culture and heritage;
  • Reform of indigenous land tenure on the Dampier Peninsula to allow for home ownership and create economic development opportunities;
  • Funds for the creation and joint management of conservation areas with the State Government (DEC).

There will be a commensurate expansion of benefits if other LNG proponents take up land in the precinct.

“The State Government will work with the native title group to start bringing forward some of the social programs that will make a difference to the lives of the indigenous people of the Kimberley and wider region.” the Premier said.

It is anticipated that the agreements will be executed by the end of June 2011.

“This historic agreement will give momentum to the project which remains on track for a Final Investment Decision in about 12 months time.” Premier Barnett said.

“This will be the only site used for onshore processing of LNG and separation of liquids in the Kimberley. The Kimberley will not become an industrial site for heavy industry.” Premier Barnett said.