WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Traditional owners will meet former Greens leader Bob Brown in a bid to sway opposition to Woodside Petroleum’s proposed $30 billion Kimberley gas hub.
The retired senator and environmental activist is in Broome, in Western Australia’s far north, as part of a protest against the development by international anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.
Dr Brown and Sea Shepherd Australian director Jeff Hansen are scheduled to meet members of the Jabirr Jabirr people on Tuesday afternoon.
The Jabirr Jabirr have a joint native title claim over the James Price Point site, 60km north of Broome, where Woodside wants to build what could become the world’s biggest LNG processing plant.
The other claimants are the Goolarabooloo people, who are mainly opposed to the project.
Waardi chairman Warren Greatorex, whose organisation represents the Jabirr Jabirr and which will administer a $1.3 billion compensation package as part of a native title deal with Woodside, said Jabirr Jabirr elders were concerned their views were being ignored.
“(Dr Brown) consistently refers to the Goolarabooloo as the one and only true traditional owners of that area,” Mr Greatorex said.
“It’s caused a lot of frustration and anger amongst our elders and we want to clear up any misconceptions.”
Mr Greatorex said the Jabirr Jabirr were not the only traditional owners who wanted the gas hub, as the majority had voted in favour of it.
“The money will help our people and change lives – not just in its present form, but for future generations,” he said.
“Our people have lived below the poverty line for decades and a project like this, an opportunity like this, doesn’t come on a regular basis.”
Mr Greatorex said traditional owners shared the same environmental and cultural concerns as the Greens and other gas hub opponents, but wanted to work alongside Woodside and the WA government to ensure no problems.