The Australian State Government will press ahead with the acquisition of the land for a gas precinct near James Price Point to encourage the development of nearby gas fields.
Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett said the acquisition of the land was necessary to establish the precinct as a project-ready site to foster the efficient development of the offshore Browse Basin and onshore Canning Basin gas fields.
“This region contains world-class gas resources, and there is interest in a suitable site to support the development of LNG or domestic gas projects in the Kimberley,” Barnett said.
Under native title agreements reached with the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claimant group in June 2011, the traditional owners of the site will receive payments of more than $30million from the State Government to benefit indigenous people across the Kimberley region.
“The Aboriginal people of this region entered into an agreement with the State to ensure that the benefits of development in the Kimberley would, first and foremost, flow to them,” the Premier said.
“The decision by Woodside and its joint venture partners not to proceed with their original proposal for the development of Browse was disappointing, but this move will ensure the benefits from the State Government will still flow to the people of the Kimberley.”
The land acquisition will trigger a $10million economic development fund and $20million for an indigenous housing fund.
Barnett said the traditional owners would have an ongoing role in managing the environmental, social and heritage outcomes of the precinct, which would be central to the future development of the Browse Basin.
“The precinct does not rely upon any single proponent. We are taking a long-term approach to developing the area for the future processing and export of natural gas,” he said.
The agreement covering the site also ensures its use is limited to supporting the development and processing of gas, and not for other industrial purposes.
“If the Government doesn’t act now to secure the area, it could face substantial costs when re-negotiating approvals and create a disincentive for any new entrant,” the Premier said.
“The gas is there and it is just a matter of time before it is used. We are being prudent about its development and aiming to ensure the maximum benefit will flow through to the people of Broome, the Kimberley and right across Western Australia.
“The development of these projects will provide a major boost to the regional economy through jobs, training and business opportunities across the wider community.”
Press Release, June 20, 2013