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James Price Point – too precious to lose to short term gas profits

 Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne and Greens spokesperson for the Kimberley, Senator Rachel Siewert, visited James Price Point yesterday. Today they will be aboard the Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin, to see the whale nursery under threat from the Woodside gas hub development.

"This amazing place is a clear example of how fixation on short term gas profits can do huge damage to people and communities' interests into the future," Senator Christine Milne said.

"If we really care for people, for communities, and for the environment which sustains us all, this beautiful area, which serves as a nursery for humpback whales, is too precious to lose to short-term mining profits.

"Community monitors have seen nearly 1700 whales since 1 July - well above the 1000 whales the Woodside gas hub predicted could be seen in the total three-month migration.

"Today's report from the Australia Institute reveals that not only does Woodside's LNG scheme cause irreparable harm to a fragile environment, it also causes economic harm to the local community.

"The research shows that it will drive up the cost of living for local communities, harm the region's reputation as a tourist destination, and have serious adverse effects on Western Australia's budget - costing more to the state to support the gas hub than it will collect in state revenue. Up to 97% of its employees will be fly-in fly-out workers and it will place additional demand on already stretched community services such as health and policing."

Senator Siewert asked "Why has Colin Barnett been so quick to dismiss grave environmental concerns and yet so slow to produce any robust economic assessment into this extremely destructive scheme?

"The local community is working hard to protect their home, the beautiful region that it's in, and the whales that it shares it with.

"We call on Woodside and its joint venture partners to recognise that the community has caught them out on the real cost of this project."

Senator Milne said "Just as the Gunns pulp mill finally learnt that there is huge reputational damage to a company brand to be associated with such environmentally destructive projects, Woodside needs to recognise the full cost of a scheme that will cause such severe and irreversible harm to one of the most precious places in our country."

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