Updated: September 11, 2012
Kimberley protectors again stop work at James Price Point
Broome community protectors have climbed Woodside’s drilling rigs at James Price Point, stopping work for more than 30 hours. The action was in response to letters that expose Woodside actively seeking to suppress information around the heritage values of the site, and the Western Australian government’s repeated failure to enforce the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Over the weekend, media reports announced that Woodside had asked the State government to withdraw expert advice about possible breaches of Aboriginal heritage laws, in a letter dated September 5th, 2011. The West Australian government complied with this request and buried advice about the significance of the songline along the Dampier Peninsular, including sites within the dunes at James Price Point.
Evan Dowlings and Frances Myles spent more than 30 hours at the top of two drilling rigs within Woodside’s compound at James Price Point, stopping any drilling from occurring on registered Heritage sites and burial areas. An application for emergency Commonwealth protection has been sitting on the desk of Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke for more than 12 months, but as of yet – no action has been taken.
Woodside’s planned drilling works involve extracting millions of litres of water from the Broome Aquifer, which is also the town’s domestic, agricultural and industrial water supply.
“You will not find another dreaming track in Australia that has been so carefully mapped for such a long period and where, in the face of an economic opportunity, there is such a preparedness on the part of all the key agencies to ignore the evidence,” stated Andrew Chalk, lawyer for the area's Goolarabooloo Traditional Custodians.
Greens Senator Christine Milne and prominent businessman Geoffrey Cousins have both labelled the move to suppress information about heritage concerns as “corrupt”, with Mr Cousins suggesting that this issue should be investigated by a Royal Commission.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society WA Inc
City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi St
West Perth, WA, 6005
Phone: 08 9420 7255