Woodside a great Australian? Or Just another resource bully.

In its contemplation of where to pipe its Browse basin gas reserves to the WA coastline Woodside has the opportunity to set the benchmark in regards to its environmental impact. As it currently stands Woodside already has a significant industrial footprint in the Pilbara. To duplicate this again in the Kimberley is pure insanity, especially when there are credible alternatives.

Beads and trinkets?

The carrot that has been dangled in front of the Kimberley community in the form of jobs and royalties for land is just the modern equivalent of beads and trinkets. Those jobs and the same Royalties would still exist if the proposed LNG hub was established in the Pilbara or on floating LNG infrastructure. In this day and age fly in fly out employment is common, particularly in the mining and resource sector, so Kimberley locals could still work in the LNG industry if the good will was there to employ them regardless of the site chosen. Woodside have the opportunity here to reject the past practice of ad hoc development and in the process protect the Kimberley environment and its culture that is so important to tourism and the triple A Australian Kimberley Brand.

Short term gain for a few

AN INDUSTRIAL LNG Hub just 40 kilometers North of the Tourism Mecca Of Broome will destroy as many jobs in that industry as that which would be created by the 30 square kilometer industrial eyesore at James Price Point. The life of the LNG Hub is believed to be 40 years, is that worth the destruction to the eco system and the emerging indigenous tourism industry that can last indefinitely?

Woodside have stated that they expect to announce the choice of a site by mid 2009. This decision has been put back previously because of the difficulties of selecting a site that might get past the approvals process. THE FEDERAL MINISTER for the Environment Peter Garrett announced early 2008 a strategic assessment of the values of the Kimberley and due to finish in April 2010. In a recent article in the Financial Review Minister Garrett warned Premier Barnett of this before announcing anything. This together with the fact that most Australians do not want to see the Nature of the Kimberley destroyed, must see lights and alarm bells going off big time at Woodside HQ. Of real interest in the current debate is the fact that even sectors of the resource industry can see merit in the argument of keeping the Kimberley free from mass Industrialisation and keeping the footprint from this type of development in a precinct where it already exists. WOODSIDE now has the opportunity to rise above the pack and show that they put this country’s best interests above record profits and beyond the easiest and quickest ways to production. By choosing to go down the path of floating or looking at the Pilbara options it can earn a place in history as a company with a new attitude towards environmental ethics.