Western Australia (WA) is set to defy all opposition to chase its dream to turn Broome into a key tourist destination – including a court’s injunction order to stop gas giant, Woodside Petroleum, from drilling at a site in James Price Point. With Woodside offering big bucks to finance WA’s tourism promos, the State Government could not back down.
North West Australian Tourism was pleased to announce its intention to receive the $180,000 offered by Woodside to strategically position Broome as a major attraction that will enable WA to compete with other destinations Australia-wide.
The announcement sealed the fate of Broome, ignoring pleas from environmentalists, local residents, and indigenous land owners who have staged protests and demonstrations day in and day out against the proposed gas hub. Opponents say the deal will destroy the ecological, historical, cultural value of Broome.
The Australian Greens warned no one wants the project except Woodside and Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett. The party also claimed Woodside’s partners were initially reluctant to the gas venture but have been “forced” to join in by the WA Premier and Federal Minister Martin Ferguson.
And who wants this hub? No one other than Woodside and the Government. Not the general public, not the local community, not the Aboriginal community, not the environment movement, not even Woodside’s business partners.
Woodside Petroleum has joint venture partners Shell, Chevron, BHP and BP in the project who are reluctant to go to the Kimberley but have been forced into it by the WA Premier and Federal Minister Martin Ferguson.
Broome residents said Woodside have purchased the souls of locals with its money, masquerading as charitable work.
Australia’s North West Tourism welcomes the fund offer which will significantly help to promote Broome tourism amid a “tough domestic market”, the WA newspaper reported, adding that Chairman Chris Ellison believes the funding will help boost the image of Pilbara and Kimberley.
As the peak tourism marketing body for the Pilbara and the Kimberley, our members look to us to deliver a strong and engaging message to consumers about the positive tourism aspects of our region.
This additional funding will enable us to better tell the unique story of Broome, as the major tourism gateway to the region, and why it continues to be one of the best holiday destinations in Australia.
There has been a strong police presence James Price Point to suppress opposition. The WA Government, however, said the police presence is aimed at maintaining peace.
Lyndon Schneiders, national director of The Wilderness Society wrote to The Australian saying, “the mini army has been assembled on the doorstep of the Kimberley wilderness for one purpose – to suppress the widespread opposition of the Broome community to the construction of the proposed $40 billion James Price Point industrial precinct.”
All this to move away and silence a dogged and growing band of locals who have stood in the way of the plans of a consortium of the world’s biggest companies, including Shell, Chevron, Woodside, BP and BHP Billiton, to build this massive gas plant in a beautiful and sensitive part of the remote Dampier Peninsula.
WA police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan admitted the police squad is costing Broome’s taxpayers $100,000 per day.
While the saga of Broome goes on, Woodside also awaits today the decision by the Perth’s Court of Appeal whether its drilling works at the contentious Browse gas project is legal or not.
A traditional owner and senior member of the indigenous Goolarabooloo people, Richard Hunter, has alleged the approval granted to Woodside in February was invalid because the Kimberley Joint Development Assessment Panel did not wait to receive an official report from the Shire of Broome.
Hunter applied for an injunction in the said court to stop major earthworks and geotechnical activities of the project. The company is also ordered to not do work in the beach or dune area.
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