Barnett can’t walk away from important Kimberley investments

media-releases
13 Apr 2013 | Rachel Siewert

The Australian Greens said today that WA Premier Colin Barnett cannot walk away from investing in Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley simply because of Woodside’s decision to cancel development the James Price Point LNG precinct.

“The Greens have been staunch opponents of this proposed gas hub and the fact that it was tied so closely to the provision of better services and supports for Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley,” Senator Siewert said today.

“We completely agree that communities in the Kimberley need strong investment and support, but we have maintained that support should not be made conditional on external factors such as resource development.

“This is especially true given the long-held concerns the joint venture partners have had over James Price Point as a potential development site.

“Mr Barnett has known for a long time now that the economic evidence was making James Price Point increasingly unattractive to investors. This reality has been realised, but the Premier cannot ignore the fact that communities in the Kimberley need better support from their State Government.

“The WA Government has an obligation to ensure all West Australians are supported adequately, but people in the Kimberley should never have been put in the position where important assistance was made conditional on their agreeing to giving up country for a resource project.

"Furthermore, if other options for processing Browse LNG are now considered, it is important that Kimberley communities receive benefits from any resources extracted from the region. It is important these benefits flow to communities irrespective of where the processing occurs.

“Communities in the Kimberley need to be supported to find secure and sustainable long term options for economic development and community growth.

“The Premier cannot simply pack up shop and walk away from investing in Kimberley communities just because the LNG precinct has been shelved,” Senator Siewert concluded.