Reports that Woodside is shelving its planned Browse gas project at James Price Point could signal a big win for the Kimberley and the environment alike, the Greens said today.
"These are very encouraging reports and it is important that Woodside and the WA Government announce the decision, if it has been made," Senator Rachel Siewert said.
"Throughout this process the Premier's support for onshore processing at James Price Point has made no sense on environmental, social or scientific grounds. The State Government needs to seriously rethink its reckless enthusiasm for the industrialisation of the Kimberley.
"The Greens continue to strongly hold the view that economic benefits of any resources extracted from the Browse basin should flow to the traditional owners of the area, but that significantly better options exist for processing gas that do not involve industrialisation of James Price Point. The Greens will carefully assess any alternative plans to ensure they do not pose the same risk of environmental, social and cultural harm as the Browse proposal for James Price Point," said Senator Siewert.
Greens WA member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said "The State Government must rescind the Browse (Land) Agreement Act because if it doesn't the sword of Damocles will hang over the Kimberley for the next ten years".
"If these reports are accurate it is a clear victory that Woodside and their partners have seen sense but the State Government continues to hold the Kimberley to ransom while this Act continues to operate," said Mr Chapple.
Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam camped at James Price Point earlier this week meeting with local people concerned about the future of the pristine site.
"In addition to destroying the site's cultural heritage values, tearing up an untouched coast and wiping out a number of species, this development could strike a grave blow to the value of James Price Point to the local tourism sector.
"While gas industry leaders Shell and Exxon Mobil are pursuing floating LNG projects, Premier Barnett and Woodside have been holding on to an obsolete plan that would cause entirely unnecessary damage to a unique and precious part of Western Australia. Now Woodside has seen the light - but has the Premier?" asked Senator Ludlam.
"Gas may yield high short-term profits but it is a polluting and finite resource. The State Government should focus on developing the state's vast renewable energy potential - which will deliver energy security and long-term jobs," Senator Ludlam added.