Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett
Historic Land Use Agreement Signed At State Parliament
Victor P Taffa
The State Government, the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claimant group and Woodside Energy Ltd today finalised agreements to secure access to land at James Price Point, north of Broome, for the establishment of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) precinct to process gas from the Browse Basin Gas reserves.
The Precinct will limit LNG processing to this one site on the Kimberley coastline.
Premier Colin Barnett said the agreement was the most significant act of self determination by an Aboriginal group in Australian history.
Today’s signing formally concludes years of intensive negotiations with the traditional owners.
“Establishing the LNG precinct will boost economic growth in Western Australia and significantly improve the lives of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.” Premier Barnett said.
“For the first time in a native title agreement, benefits will not only go to the affected native title group, but also be directed to indigenous people of the Dampier Peninsula and the wider Kimberley region.”
The Premier said all West Australians would benefit from the development of the natural gas resources in the Browse Basin, and the investment, employment and business opportunities, generated by the construction and operation of multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas facilities.
“For the traditional owners and their descendants, and for indigenous communities across the Dampier Peninsula and the entire region, the agreement will ensure an unprecedented level of economic independence.” Premier Barnett said.
“Benefits will total more than $1.5 Billion over the 30-year life of the project and will be expanded when additional proponents take up land in the precinct.”
The agreement includes State funding of $256 Million over 30 years towards housing, education, economic development, promotion and protection of cultural heritage and a Kimberley enhancement scheme which will invest in indigenous social programs.
Other benefits include land parcels, indigenous land reform on the Dampier Peninsula, the creation and joint management of conservation areas, employment and business contracting opportunities.
The agreement also includes long term commitments to establish the precinct for LNG processing and exports, as well as the rehabilitation of the land and return of the land to the traditional owners at the end of the precinct’s life.
Premier Barnett said the State Government would apply the highest level of environmental oversight for this project.
“The precinct will not proceed without the necessary approvals, conditions and detailed management plans.” Premier Barnett said.
“The traditional owners will be involved in the management of the precinct. They will monitor the environmental performance of precinct operators and consulted over the environmental protection measures taken.”
Some funds will be immediately transferred to the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claimant group to enable the administrative and governance matters to be progressed.
The balance of State benefits will flow to the traditional owners upon the acquisition of land for the precinct, when a foundation proponent is secured and upon passage of the precinct legislation.
Woodside is expected to make a final investment decision by mid-2012 and based on these time frames, it is anticipated LNG processing will commence in 2016-17.