Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vulnerable plant communities of James Price Point

The Gubinge tree usually stands, when fully grown, up to 6 to 7 metres in height. The Gubinge that grow on the cliff line at James Price Point are ancient trees, some as old as 300 years, but would stand no higher than one metre. In the misty season, when big blankets of mist cover this cliff face, very special and rare carnivorous plants can be found. Some of these carnivorous plants have not been formally identified or officially named.

Pixie, Daisy and Diver Go To James Prices Point

This video is to encourage all people to act in a peaceful, non-violent way. Everyone can be involved in hands on activism., It can take all forms, whether its environmental art, pointing out special areas, hanging banners, driving, using IT or just enjoying country.
This is a video of two young girls who spent their weekend exploring James Price Point , the proposed location for an LNG gas processing precinct on the Kimberley coast and standing up for the planet.

Filmed on the 4th and 5th January 2009.

Hands off country

Picturesque Price's Point

The storm clouds of concern and protest are gathering like the wet season clouds with rain and thunder. You can offer your support to:

Photos Australia Day weekend at James Price Point.
Hands off country

Unique Untouched Spectacular

This is how the Kimberley is promoted by Australia's North West Tourism see the back of the CEO's business card. The message is simple, preserve and promote the wilderness we are entrusted to look after.
Redhand travelled the road to James Price Point last weekend; the wet season here is truly spectacular.

"You'd think we were crossing the Red Sea."

Hands off country

Monday, January 26, 2009

Conoco, Karoon fire on Browse gas hunt

On the 26th the Western Australian were repoorting that ConocoPhillips and Karoon Gas Australia plan to this week spud the first well in a $150 million drilling program aimed at discovering the latest massive gasfield in the Browse Basin.

In what is shaping as a pivotal year for companies with Browse Basin acreage, operator ConocoPhillips (51 per cent) and Karoon (49 per cent) are using the Sedco-703 semi-submersible rig for a 200-day program, starting with the Poseidon-1 well.

The partners have plans for up to five wells, with each likely to cost $30 million. The partners have high expectations, given their WA-315-P permit is close to the 12 trillion cubic feet Ichthys gasfield discovered by Inpex and Total and near Woodside Petroleum’s fields, Torosa, Calliance and Brecknock, which are thought to contain about 18tcf.

Analysts have described the Browse Basin’s high strike rate as a case of not “if they find gas, but how much”. Karoon’s shares have risen sharply since bottoming at $1.64 in October in anticipation of the drilling program, and closed at $2.80 on Friday.

Although the company floated on the Australian Securities Exchange five years ago ostensibly as a coal-bed methane gas exploration company, the Browse Basin acreage and the fact ConocoPhillips is its partner has aroused investor interest.

The basin’s prospectivity has attracted most of the world’s big oil and gas companies, although the challenge of developing discoveries continues to be an industry concern. Given the high level of environmental concern about gas processing developments on the Kimberley coastline, the various Browse Basin acreage holders are increasingly considering either floating development options (like Royal Dutch Shell and Nexus Energy) or a tie-back to existing infrastructure.
Woodside will decide by the end of June whether to construct a pipeline to link its Browse Basin fields to existing liquefied natural gas plants on the Burrup Peninsula. ConocoPhillips already operates an LNG train in Darwin and has room to expand.

Should the WA Government’s proposed Kimberley LNG hub concept fail, then ConocoPhillips would be expected to follow the lead proposed by Inpex and pipe any Browse Basin gas to Darwin.
ConocoPhillips and Karoon are still years off being able to make a development decision, assuming that Poseidon-1 and subsequent wells strike commercial quantities of hydrocarbon.
With the State’s hard-rock industry closing mines and laying off thousands of workers, WA is hoping the oil and gas sector will provide some economic relief during the current upheaval by continuing its active exploration and development program.

Nexus, hard-hit by its failure late last year to secure Japanese trader Mitsui as a principal partner for its $1 billion Crux project, remains confident of securing a new investor this quarter in what is likely to shape as the precursor to a final investment decision for the liquids play.
Nexus owns 85 per cent of Crux, which contains proven and probable reserves of 75.2 million barrels of light oil, but wants to offload about half its stake to reduce its risk profile.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Broome International Airport Environmental Vandalism

In 2008, the Broome International Airport built helicopter hangers on the salt marsh as you enter Broome. At the time of construction concerns were raised with the EPA about the pindan and the amount that had been dumped over the delicate and vital salt marsh, in order to lay foundations for this construction. This video clearly demonstrates the pindan erosion and the subsequent bleeding of the pindan over the salt marsh and into the mangrove eco-communities. Broome at its highest point is only 7 metres above sea level. This construction is on sea level and subsequently is incredibly vulnerable to the rising sea levels, because the mangrove community, (which they are killing) is the only barrier that is currently keeping the sea at bay. This is the beginning of the gas industry invasion into the Kimberley coast. Hands Off Country Stand up for the Planet

It's ridiculous that no study was done to determine if there would be damage done to the mangroves. The mangrove forests around Broome are vibrant ecological communities which form part of an ecotone between the land and the bay. Of all tropical mudflats studied Roebuck Bay has the greatest diversity and abundance of invertebrate life. Roebuck Bay is home to a variety of marine turtles, dugong, dolphins and a great diversity of fish. It is also a key location on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory shorebirds - visited by 100s of thousands of birds every year. It's a global treasure and cries out for respect and conservation. Given the thoughtless damage to the mangroves, can anyone be trusted with a major development like a LNG hub in the same locality and environment? Comment from Save the Kimberley

Conserving Dampier Peninsula’s Vulnerable vine thickets

This is a photograph of a fully laden Gubinge (Terminalia ferdinandiana) taken at James Price Point last weekend. This fruit is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C in the world - 50 times that of the oranges. The Dampier Peninsula, located between Broome and Derby in the Kimberley region of WA, contains significant communities of native vine thickets, remnant of monsoonal rainforests more often restricted to the wetter parts of northern Australia.

Many species in the Peninsula’s thickets are located at the southern limits of their range. The vine thickets are renowned for their high biodiversity value and provide important habitat for native fauna and valuable food sources and cultural significance for Aboriginal people.

About 90% of the total 1,000 ha of thickets occurs on Aboriginal reserves and grazing leases, and over the past 10 - 15 years Indigenous communities have been engaged in the protection, harvesting and conservation of these vine thickets.
The vine thickets occur as discrete and discontinuous patches of dense semi-deciduous vegetation situated on the leeward slopes of coastal sand dunes. The patches increase in species diversity and structural composition progressively towards the northern end of the Peninsula and can range in size from a stand of several trees to a patch greater than 60ha. The network of patches ensures species migration and gene flow, and the loss and degradation of a single patch can leave isolated patches vulnerable to local species extinction.
These Vine thickets are already increasingly threatened by the combined effects of frequent hot wildfires, weed infestation, impacts of off-road driving, camping, and damage from cattle. The development of a proposed LNG Gas Hub at James Prices Point will definitely add to these pressures.

Dampier Peninsula’s vine thickets are recognised as Threatened Ecological Communities under State legislation, and are listed as ‘Vulnerable’, facing a high risk of total destruction in the medium to long term.

In 2005, the WA TEC Scientific Committee reassessed the plight of the vine thickets and recommended that the communities be upgraded to ‘Endangered’, which means that they face a very high risk of total destruction in the near future.

This is not the scrubby bush our Premier would want people to believe. To some, the vegetation on the Peninsular may appear dull and uninteresting, but to those who take the time to understand its complexities, it reveals a wealth of fascinating plant communities.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Can't build a footpath, how about a gas hub?

......"Redhand is currently at the corner of Clementson (Street) and Port Drive in Broome. What we would like to illustrate to you today is how pindan reacts when a slab of concrete is placed on top of it. Now this pathway is only 3 months old and already you can see huge damage in regards to erosion. Now, pindan is a very difficult sand to work with and James Price Point is basically all pindan. Redhand questions, do we have the technology and the ability to put huge amounts, slabs of concrete over pindan and believe that it is stable? Now this is a very simple illustration, but a very clear illustration of how pindan reacts when it has got concrete placed on top, ......and we have rain."

Hands off country

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Environmental damage at Woodside's base in Broome

........"Redhand is currently down at the Woodside site near the Broome Port. What Redhand would like to show you today is that this simple compensation basin which has really only seen one 'wet' has completely and totally eroded away. They've currently got a generator on at the moment, a pump to try and pump the water out and as we pan around this very small compensation basin you'll see that the workers are frantically trying to fill in the hole. Redhand questions that if this Company does not have the engineering ability or understanding of how to look after and work with the environment and pindan then how can they honestly be entrusted to put an LNG gas hub on the Kimberley coast if they cannot make
a simple compensation basin without this type of wanton environmental damage?"

Urgent repairs to the compensation basin at the Woodside site at the Port of Broome following rain from Cyclone Billy. This is a new compensation basin and Broome has not had significant rains this wet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Imagine a 7 kilometre jetty at James Price Point

........ "This is James Price Point. Can you imagine a seven kilometre jetty out here? Can you iimagine all the dredging and all the cement they are going to have to mix? Guys, this is gorgeous how it is. Hands off country. Hands off."

People have to understand that the proposed gas hub at James Price Point, on the Kimberley coast will not only decimate James Price Point's environment but will lock people out of country with it's thirty kilometres exclusion zone. Willie Creek, if we are lucky, will be the furthermost northern point people will be able to travel up the western coastline of Dampier Peninsula. This exclusion zone will also be extended out to sea effectively locking out recreational fishing. How can one industry be allowed to come in and take away the livelihoods and recreation of many families?

Why introduce industry that is so destructive when we already have environmentally friendly and sustainable industries like tourism, fishing, pearling, charter tours, eco tourism, whales and bird watching etc? These have worked very hard over the years to build up this branding both for Broome and Dampier Peninsula and employ countless numbers of people.

Hands off country...Stand up for the planet

Dont Underhand the Red Hand


Barnett to push ahead with gas hub plan

5th January 2009, 6:00 WST

Colin Barnett has rejected calls to stop development of a gas processing hub in the Kimberley, saying the State Government’s preferred site at James Price Point was the best compromise between economic development and environmental concerns.

Environmental groups have warned a project on the site would threaten whale breeding grounds and open the door to the industrialisation of the whole Kimberley.

But the Premier said yesterday James Price Point, 60km north of Broome, was an ideal site because of its isolation.

“That peninsular area is some 200km long — it is basically flat tableland that simply comes to the coast,” he said.

“It’s an isolated site with no communities in the vicinity and I believe it would bring immense benefits to the Kimberley in terms of employment and small business opportunities in particular for the indigenous population of the area.

“While I recognise there will be groups, particularly the environmental lobby, which will oppose any development anywhere, James Price Point is not that part of the coast that people identify as being the Kimberley. This is not the spectacular gorge country with waterfalls and the like.”

Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said yesterday an LNG hub at James Price Point would disrupt the migratory patterns of humpback whales.

“The deep sea area at James Price Point is 5km offshore, so they are going to have to dredge and build a huge breakwater, possibly up to 5km out to sea,” he said. “That is going to mean utter devastation for the marine ecology in that area.”

Mr Pritchard said he would prefer gas to be piped to the existing LNG hub in the Pilbara or processed on a floating platform.

Mr Barnett said while technically feasible, a floating LNG processing platform would probably be built in South Korea, negating any benefit to the local economy.

He promised a full environmental assessment and was confident negotiations with indigenous groups would be successful, given talks he had with community members when he visited the area two weeks ago.

Shadow minister for State development Mark McGowan accused the Premier of attempting to force a decision rather than build a consensus for a preferred site among the Kimberley community. He said this could jeopardise development in the region.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Barnett's first 2009 response to Environmental Concerns

at James Priceless Point 4 January 2009

Below is a news release from the ABC. We are pleased to see that Barnett has responded to the major environmental concerns that conservationists, such as Richard Costin and others have been shouting about for some time now, by promising a full environmental study of the James Prices Point area.

However, in the same interview Barnett states that he "thinks that there will be no conflict between shipping and whales".With what information and studies can he claim such a thing? Why does Barnett continue to make these "off-the-cuff" remarks, especially after promising a full environmental study.

Right from the day he was elected eyesoncountry feels like Barnett is "like a bull in a china shop" as his greed to make his mark on the state outstrips his ability to deal with proper protocols, laws that are set up to protect our environment.

We will have faith in our laws because everybody in the Broome region is very aware of how the Humpback Whales pass so very close to Priceless Point, and when they are migrating north to calf we must remember that some of the mothers are fully laden with their new offspring and just before they arrive in the first safety zone of Pender Bay, where early births no doubt occur, they may have to navigate through massive gas tankers and veer out to sea to avoid the hub's jetties. Even the "layman" such as myself can see the conflict and impact that would happen.

Please wipe that dust away Barnett.
p.s does this mean that his 3 month threat is out the door since it would have to be June and beyond 2009 to be able to properly study the whales??? Even then, only 3-5 year studies could properly and scientifically give the EPA the proper data that is needed to make such a decision.

Government promises full assessment for gas hub
ABC News
Posted 8 hours 52 minutes ago
Updated 8 hours 47 minutes ago

The Premier Colin Barnett says there will be a full environmental assessment of the site which has been named for a gas processing precinct in the Kimberley.

The State Government has chosen James Price Point north of Broome as the site for the L-N-G hub.

Environmental groups say the development will be an disaster for marine life particularly for humpback whales which migrate to the area each year.

Mr Barnett says that is a legitimate issue and the site will be assessed for any environmental impact before the development goes ahead.

"I think there will be no conflict between shipping and whales, and by moving the plant well away from the major calving area, I don't believe there will be any impact," he said.

"But yes there will be a full environmental assessment of any development of any site on any area of WA."

Conservationist fights to preserve Kimberley Whale song.

From the West.3rd January 2009

More than half a century ago, in a cold, wet and mountainous corner of Australia, Alec Costin was known as the real Man from Snowy River.
Considered the father of alpine ecology in Australia, Dr Costin’s efforts to conserve and manage Mount Kosciuszko in the Snowy Mountains were legendary.
Today, thousands of kilometres across the country in Broome, his son Richard is fighting on a new conservation frontier.
As The West Australian accompanied the khaki-clad whale researcher to James Price Point this week, his partner Annabelle Sandes suggested he might be a cross between Steve Irwin and Les Hiddins, aka the Bush Tucker Man.
That comparison might not sit well with Mr Costin but it is an easy one to make.
He regularly embarks on three-week treks through the rugged terrain of the Kimberley, taking nothing more than a fishing line and a box of matches.
But it is his knowledge of the endangered humpback whale — gathered while studying their migratory activities along the Kimberley coast for the past 15 years — that he hopes will change the course of the Broome gas hub debate.
Mr Costin says a gas precinct at James Price Point would put a brick wall in the migratory path of the humpback.
A recent Environmental Protection Authority report found North Head, 125km north of Broome, was a humpback whale breeding ground. This was enough to deter Colin Barnett from naming North Head as his favoured site, opting for James Price Point instead.
But Mr Costin says the same detailed research that formed the basis of the EPA’s advice has not been done at James Price Point.
In September, Mr Costin and Ms Sandes began a spot survey of humpbacks between the Maret Islands and Broome.
They saw an average of 11.2 humpbacks per hour at James Price Point — a figure only behind the 22 spotted at Camden Sound, one of the Kimberley’s largest bays.
While Mr Costin believes there would be ship strikes of whales if a gas hub were built at James Price Point, his biggest concern is interference to the communication between mothers and their calves.
His research has revealed an “acoustic curtain” whereby humpbacks communicated with others in calving areas hundreds of kilometres up the Dampier Peninsula.
“Each boat would have its own sound signature and that would basically drown out the whale song.”
Mr Costin says it is the deep waters off the point — one of the requirements for building a gas precinct — that attracts the whales.
Recognising that a gas processing plant will be built, he advocates a floating plant off the coast.
With Woodside focusing on a plant in either the Kimberley or the Pilbara, that option appears unlikely.
Ben Spencer

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 The march is on for James Price Point!

It’s now 77 days since Redhand’s banner hit the roundabout (No Way Barnett. Beagle Bay Blockade. No Gas. Hands off country) at the entrance to Broome, Western Australia, in anger at Premier Colin Barnett’s early announcement that the planned gas hub precinct should be established at North Head. The blatant disregard by the Premier, for the process of community consultation and research that had already taken place and which is planned, outraged Redhand. The momentum of community spirit, anger, discussion and media articles created has been overwhelming and Redhand intends to pursue this issue until contemplation or intent to build an LNG gas processing precinct on the Dampier Peninsula is dead and buried. As Redhand said then “Within hours of the announcement of HIS preferred site for the gas hub proposal, Premier Barnett was given a clear message tonight. Installed on the major roundabout coming into Broome, Kimberley, Western Australia and illuminated by an eerie generator light, Premier Barnett is put on notice. We will not give away the Kimberley without a fight."

Redhand aims to raise the consciousness of people about what is proposed.
The main aim is to change the mindset, that it’s imminent, that its inevitable and it will happen. That mindset has to be challenged.
People say they can’t change anything but the only thing that has changed history has been people. Even that mindset of the individual has to be challenged the “Oh, what can I do?” Even that has to change. This gas development will only happen if people let it.
Redhand’s objective is to challenge this mindset, this ‘fait accompli’ thinking in the current environmental, political and economic climate.

The world needed to be told so this blog was created to record, to educate and to inform you about the potential disaster of a gas hub on our most beautiful coastline. Redhand is delighted that other groups have spread this campaign and encourages you to watch other websites and blogs listed under our links section.

Redhand’s intention has always been for non violent, protest with creative, direct action, “Banners sprout in Broome as LNG campaign grows. Protests anger authorities.” and “Red Hand takes the argument to Carol Martin's front door. We will not give up on the Kimberley without a fight”. That 300 to 500 people joined a community rally in Broome (15,000 population) on a week’s notice is evidence that this issue is finally on our agenda, at the top of priority and action lists!

Two days before Christmas and while Cyclone Billy hovered along the western coast of Dampier Peninsula near James Price Point, the Premier announced James Price Point as the Government’s preferred site for an LNG gas processing precinct. Of course, on the recommendation of the EPA there needs to be added room for expansion and future buffer zones so the Premier was delighted to announce a confirmed site with lots of space and scrubby bush. Not one gas processing plant more than one, that means how much more infrastructure? This might be 3 to 4 times more land than we have previously been told. Evidently the NDT is dead. Will the fence line along the gas precinct be shared by Willie Creek Pearl Farm?

One considered view is that current exploration for gas will continue, development of processing may be delayed however. Given the global financial markets in a huge state of flex and the domino effect of which we have not yet fully felt in Broome will cause investors and gas processing proponents to review their finances, operating, capital and equity. Further the Federal Government’s planned carbon emission scheme is yet to be determined. It’s quite possible that Financial Investment Decisions will be delayed perhaps even two years. Meanwhile the State Government will issue a Notice Of Intention To Take, the land post 31st March 2009. This is for the purpose that the land be prepared, ready for the gas processing companies. The State must be challenged environmentally, socially, economically and honestly. Now is the time for the community to really understand what this ‘gas thing’ is all about, 90 days to say NO GAS.

Redhand heard of talk about a festival for the Kimberley to be held at James Price Point. It’s planned to bring people onto country, enjoy the goodwill of others in support of saving the country from destruction. There’s talk of Missy Higgins, Pigram Brothers, Xavier Rudd and others. Redhand supports this positive, non-violent direct action, for bringing people to see and enjoy the country. Goodwill and sharing of skills will help it happen, dancing on country is far better than destroying it.

Now that James Prices Point has been selected by the State Government for a gas hub/precinct it’s time to focus there. Redhand has decided to update previous posts:
  1. Hub will vandalise the Lurujarrri Heritage Walk Trail ---This is a most important heritage area and the songline travels through James Price Point. Aboriginal people have walked this trail for centuries and Elders have guided people from all over the world over the last few years.
  2. Compulsory Acquisition what does it mean?---This is the possible process the State Government will undertake.
Last time we met with Bob Builder on the Peninsula was at Map Beach on North Head. Redhand plans to see him again this weekend at James Price Point – watch out for new Redhand messages.

Handsoffcountry has continued with thanks and appreciation because of contributions by partners and friends, our nine children, Redhand’s Digital Fingers Francesco and Elena (such wisdom and talent in the young), cash contributions for stickers, and a car, to Emma, Peter, Simon, Cath and Lee and to sticker distributors. Great to see Handsoffcountry stickers driving around town. Email Redhand if you’d like some.
And to Redhand’s digital fingers Francesco and Elena who are enjoying the wonders of the snow “Ciao how are you? From the cold snowy Dolomiti Mountain Italy”. look at Redhand’s special new year wishes to these two talented people, looking forward to seeing them after snowboarding in the Australian Alps later this year.
And for the deadliest assistance, with banners, by those who shall remain nameless.

Take a look at any of the links on this blog they all provide more information, news and opinion. Congratulations to all of the environmental groups out there working on keeping the Kimberley intact.
If you’re thinking, what can you do? Visit one of the Indigenous Eco Tourism ventures on the Dampier Peninsula this year. Go fishing, go mudcrabbing, see the country for what it is clean and fresh and free, wonder at the birdlife, the fish, the whales trekking north to breed, and then come to Broome, buy pearls, look at our heritage and laze on one of the world’s best beaches.

Redhand congratulates everyone who has made an effort no matter how big or small, talking to your boss, debating over the bbq, lending starpickets or marching in the rally every little bit helps.
Very special thanks to Eyesoncountry for doing exactly that, eyes on country. Redhand is off to country for new film and pics, bit of plant picking, birdwatching, snake avoiding, bit of picture taking, have a look around and collect some news. Over to Eyes on country and a peaceful and healthy 2009 to all. Redhand

Happy New Year 2009. Eyesoncountry would like to wish all those Handsoffcountry viewers and all who hold the earth sacred, blessings for the coming year.Would also like to acknowledge and give respect to the country we are all talking about as well as to the proper Law, Culture and Heritage Bosses of the Prices Point area.

Now to cut straight to the point.No doubt 2009 will bring a new string of events and media releases as fast as last years as the greed for gas outweighs our politicians abilities to see clearly, listen properly and actually feel the country they would like to bulldoze to oblivion.

To all our Federal and State politicians and the movers and shakers of big business the time has come for you to wipe the dust from your eyes and choose to operate in ways that supports this living planet that gives us life otherwise you will continue to get hounded by the Nation.

In 2009 we will not stop, we will not fail, we will not falter in our aim to expose and examine every move and utterance that comes forth from so called "high places" in regards to this issue.We will continue to bring you unedited points of view and interviews and any actions that take place and we have a constant source of eyes and ears on country and in the board rooms.So please take heed and use the new year to enlighten yourselves to what the majority of the Kimberley Community is saying.

We would also like to call on people from all around our nation and our planet to participate in whatever ways they can and we will need numbers up here in the Dry for actions.

However, direct non-violent action as well as the backing of our ancient allies means that we are quietly confident that wisdom will prevail and new options become available. Eyes on country

Eyes on Country Hands off country Stand up for the planet

Hub will vandalise the Lurujarri WalkTrail?

Have you walked the Lurujarri Walk Trail? It follows the song cycle through Minyirr Park Broome north along the coast through Quondong and James Price Point and return. The Northern Development Taskforce Site Selection panel have recommended that James Price Point as a possible site for the LNG gas hub to quote:
James Price Point or an area to the north of the Point is recognised as technically
viable for development though not without having some impact on sensitive marine
areas and the pearling and fishing industries. Development would also present
significant pressures and challenges on the tourism infrastructure and the character
of Broome as a tourism destination. In particular, studies into fish aggregation and
whale migration will be critical to establishing whether impacts can be avoided or
minimised. The advantage of a site close to Broome is that it would leave the
Aboriginal lands in the north of the Peninsula free of industrial development. In
addition, shared infrastructure such as the Broome airport would reduce the total hub
It is recommended this site be subject to the hub design concept study,
heritage surveys and regional impact studies and considered for a LNG hub........”
The Lurujarri Heritage trail starts at Minarriny (Coulomb Point) and travels south along the coastal dunes following the traditional Aboriginal Song Cycle to Minyirr (Gantheaume Point). The Goolarabooloo community has been assisted with funding since about 1999 to establish the walk as a guided tour. Funding has come from the then Western Australian Heritage Committee and Coastcare funding and has assisted in management and designation of the trail. The walk is open to University students for study purposes as well as for visitors to the area. The guided walk usually takes place in July of each year and takes about 10 days; We have known of overseas visitors come to Broome especially to go on this tour to learn about the stories, history and culture of Aboriginal people and of the natural environment in this area. While the publicised walk trail is a recent invention the song cycle is as old as forever and breaking of the cycle can’t be contemplated. An LNG gas hub at James Price Point or Quondong will do just that. See the map at

First posted 17 October, 2008

Compulsory Acquisition what does it mean?

Gail McGowan the Assistant Director General of the Department for Industry and Resources and executive officer for the Northern Development Taskforce (NDT) stated at the Broome public meeting this week that the State Government would make a decision on one of the four sites by the end of the year. This is clearly outside the NDT process. Many questions have been raised with both the NDT and the Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett about the possibility of compulsorily taking the land for a LNG gas hub. The Premier has said publicly he will take the land.
For Native Title claimants and holders there is a procedure under the Native Title Act. How this works is dependent on whether a claim has been determined – then an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) would be negotiated; or where a claim is yet to be determined and a claimant group is properly registered – the Future Acts process would take place.
Otherwise, for other land holders/owners/tenants/residents on the Dampier Peninsula the State legislation would be followed.

The Minister for Land (currently Brendan Grylls) has responsibility for the Land Administration Act 1997 and under S.11 go to ( and then to index acts in force).
11. Minister may acquire land in public interest
(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister may, in the name and on behalf of the State, acquire an estate, interest or other right in or to land in the public interest from any person —
(a) by purchase;
(b) by exchange, and may make or receive any payment that is necessary because of any difference in value between the pieces of land exchanged;
(c) by accepting the surrender of land held in fee simple or a less estate or interest;
(d) by taking it in the manner provided by Part 9;
(e) by forfeiture to the State under section 35; or
(f) by acquiring it in any other manner provided for by this Act.

This also requires a procedure to be adhered to. The Minister will be required to lodge a Notice of Intention To Take (NOITT) S.170 with the Lands Registrar and this is to be open for 12 months, objections must be received within 60 days of that date of registration of a NOITT.

170. Notice of intention to take interest in land
(1) Subject to this section, if it is proposed to take interests in land without agreement under this Part, the Minister must issue a notice of intention to take the interests, in accordance with this section.

In relation to the meetings held on the Peninsula this week Redhand questions if the correct procedure has been followed? There was talk of a request to drill holes for the purposes of obtaining geological data for the hub and was explained by NDT representative Ms McGowan at the Broome public meeting. S.182 of the Land Administration Act 1997:

182. Land may be entered for a feasibility study
(1) If it appears to the Minister that it may be necessary to use any land for a proposed public work for which the Minister is authorised to take interests in land, the Minister may authorise a
person —
(a) to enter on that land; and
(b) to do anything necessary in order to study the feasibility of the proposed public work.
(2) The Minister or person authorised must, before entering on any land under this section, give to the principal proprietor, the occupier, and to the holders of any native title rights and interests, not less than 30 days notice in writing, giving a description of the area of the land to be entered upon, a description of what is proposed to be done for the feasibility study, and the time that it is expected to take.

If this was a precursor to a NOITT were the correct notices in writing provided?

The Land Administration Act 1997 also provides for procedures where there are Native Title rights and interests.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s Crown Land and Administration and Regulation Practice Manual Chapter 09 Compulsory Acquisition of Interests in Land provides further information on how compulsory acquisition should be undertaken. Check out for further information on Compulsory Acquisition from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

Leaseholders on the Dampier Peninsula are those people who have leases via the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs (currently Deputy Premier Kim Hames) has responsibility for the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 ( and then to index acts in force). It is this Act in S.20 which provides for the establishment of the body corporate, the Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT). There are 7 members of the Trust, all appointed by the Minister. (for details on members go to

S.23 describes the Functions of the ALT
23. Functions of the Aboriginal Lands Trust
Subject to this Act, the functions of the Aboriginal Lands Trust
are —
(a) to carry out such of the functions of the Authority as may be delegated to the Trust under section 24, or as the Minister may direct
(b) to acquire and hold land, whether in fee simple or otherwise, and to use and manage that land for the benefit of persons of Aboriginal descent;
(c) to ensure that the use and management of the land held by the Trust, or for which the Trust is in any manner responsible, shall accord with the wish of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area so far as that can be ascertained and is practicable;
(d) to consult, negotiate, enter into financial arrangements, contract, and to undertake or administer projects, either directly or in association with other persons or bodies, as may be necessary or desirable for the development of the land for which the Trust is responsible;
(e) generally, on behalf of and as the corporate entity representing the interests of the Aboriginal inhabitants
of the area to which the matter relates, to take, instigate or support any action that may be required to ensure the most beneficial use of the land.

The reserve lands can be changed by proclamation by the Governor on recommendation to the Minister from the ALT and must be presented to Parliament S.25 New lands may be reserved.

Redhand queries whether the ALT is representing the interests of Aboriginal people, the leaseholders on the Dampier Peninsula?
And how will the Minister for Indigenous Affairs represent the interests of Aboriginal people on the issue of compulsory acquisition of home and lands? On this issue Redhand will raise further queries about the Aboriginal Heritage Act’s responsibilities on this subject, in a future post.
First posted 16 November, 2008