W. Australia to secure land for LNG hub

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Sept. 9 -- The government of Western Australia began the compulsory acquisition process to secure land at James Price Point about 60 km north of Broome as the site for the region’s proposed LNG hub.

Premier Colin Barnett said the move is due to the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) and the native title claimants failing to finalize an indigenous land-use agreement with the state government and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. within the required timeframe.

Barnett said the government spent $16 million (Aus.) with the KLC in a fruitless effort to reach agreement. He added the disputed land is not covered by an aboriginal land trust, nor is there any native title over it.

The Premier said within 18 months the land will be a freehold site owned by the state. The land itself is a flat tableland edging a sand and rock beach.

Barnett said any LNG plants built there will provide thousands of jobs for Australians for decades to come. He added developing gas from the offshore Browse basin was critical for the development of Western Australia, Australia, and its indigenous people.

In developing the resource, he said, the government won’t compromise on environmental standards, good planning, high safety standards or benefits to the aboriginal community.

The compulsory acquisition move, however, sparked a flurry of protest from green and aboriginal groups and the unions and is bound to attract legal opposition.

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