Skip to main content

Victory for Australia’s nature: WA Supreme Court rules James Price Point approval ‘illegal’


The proposed James Price Point gas plant is now dead and buried after a decision handed down by the Western Australian Supreme Court today.

In a ruling that has vindicated the many opponents of the environmentally and culturally destructive development, the court has found that the Western Australian Environment Minister and the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority had acted illegally in the assessment and approval process. 

Read more about the judgement here and watch a video from the win here.

“The James Price Point gas pipe dream is now dead and buried,” said Wilderness Society Western Australia Campaign Manager Peter Robertson. “Premier Colin Barnett must face facts, drop this unhealthy obsession and quit the compulsory acquisition process.”

The Wilderness Society took action against the EPA with Walmadan (James Price Point) Traditional Owner Richard Hunter. To the Walmadan people, James Price Point has been home and an irreplaceable cultural resource for thousands of years.

“When the EPA said a gas plant on this country was a good idea, our community was enraged,” Mr Hunter said. “Today’s court ruling shows that we will do what it takes to protect the Song Cycle, this country, for future generations. Our people are strong – we are still fighting for our culture and country, we won’t be bullied into a corner by the government.”

Premier Barnett also touted a benefits package from money made by the gas project to improve the living standards within the Kimberley’s communities.

“The Premier should follow through with the Browse benefits package because he obviously sees the need for improved housing, education, training and health services in the Kimberley.” Mr Robertson said.

A bold precedent: environmental approval powers must not be given to the states

Walmadan Traditional Owner Richard Hunter at James Price Point. Photo: Damien KellyWalmadan Traditional Owner Richard Hunter at James Price Point. Photo: Damien Kelly
This ruling sets a bold precedent and is a stark reminder of why final environmental approval powers should not be left in the hands of the states.

Business and investor confidence will be severely eroded around the country as environmental approvals are overturned by the courts or spend years tangled up in legal action, as evidenced by the James Price Point ruling.

Wilderness Society National Director, Lyndon Schneiders, says Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott has made his party’s position clear on approval powers being handed to the conflicted and under-resourced states.

“The states can’t be trusted to look after environmental matters of national significance.

“Tony Abbott’s plans will amplify today’s debacle tenfold, creating a legislative and litigation nightmare for business as each state’s Mickey Mouse approval process ends up in the courts. Instead of cutting green tape, Tony Abbott and his boasters in the Business Council of Australia will create a nightmare for investor confidence in this country.”

Without federal powers to override the irresponsible decisions of the states, the Great Barrier Reef, the Franklin River, the Daintree Rainforest and Fraser Island would all have been destroyed.

The future is also looking brighter for the incredible wildlife of James Price Point.

The thousands of humpback whales that make the yearly pilgrimage to the waters off Broome can now calve and frolick in peace without having to worry about supertankers barging through their sanctuary.

The endangered bilbies that live in the beautiful red sands of James Price Point can also continue to live in peace without becoming road kill or having their habitat destroyed.

This is a victory for the people of Broome and the Traditional Custodians who bravely opposed the Western Australian Government and some of the world’s biggest resource companies and won.

Read more

Media releases: