Combating Industry and Government Spin

Spin, the Practice of presenting news or information in a way that creates a favourable impression. Rod Hartvigsen a well known Broome Photographer reports on the current situation and atmosphere in the Iconic Town. I speak to a lot of people on a weekly basis at the Broome Markets. Many are tourists visiting the town and many at this time of the year are locals getting out and about before the rains come after midday. Yes it is the wet season in Broome and the majestic storms are becoming more common. Last Saturday, a lady I spoke to had just moved to Broome from Port Hedland, a very industrial town approximately 600km to the south and our nearest town in that direction. She had moved because her landlord of what she described as a ‘dog-box’ of a house, had just raised the rent from $900/week to $1300/week as he had heard another ‘boom’ was about to hit town! This is exactly what the people of Broome are afraid of should Premier Barnett get his way and build a Liquefied Natural Gas plant just out of town. But this is just one of the many problems that are scaring, dividing and threatening the people of Broome and the Kimberley. Will we continue to have clean air, pristine waters, clear skies at night to view the stars, unrestricted camping, fishing, snorkelling and relaxation along this beautiful section of the Kimberley coast? Will the wilderness be jeopardised for the hungry pockets of a few? I hear talk from visitors that they understand it is a ‘done deal’. ‘Oh, haven’t the local traditional owners signed for it to go ahead?’ I spend a lot of time explaining that only a small group of tradition owners have signed a ‘heads of Agreement’ that only agrees to negotiate with Government and Industry. A majority of traditional owners of the land involved are against the Gas. It’s just that these people are not being represented! No Indigenous land use Agreement (ILUA) has been signed. No environmental studies have been completed.  The fat lady has not yet sung and if a lot of people have their way, she will not even get a chance to clear her throat! It is the audacity of state government and Woodside petroleum that is very annoying to many locals. OK, the state government has selected where they would like to construct this monstrosity, but nothing had been approved, yet Woodside has cleared land to erect a meteorological data gathering tower to design their LNG plant as well as a jack-up rig has been offshore destroying coral reefs and habitat by moving the rig to various locations along the coast off James price Point to do drill samples for jetty, breakwater and pipeline trench locations. Does this mean that the system is so corrupt that this type of work can go ahead without approval having been obtained from landowners or from Government, State and Federal? Does this mean that although all the boxes haven’t been ticked, these companies can go ahead and dig, and drill and clear land as if they know that all the boxes WILL be ticked? All of the work being done is not for the purpose of selecting a site. It is for the purpose of designing the plant. This work should not be occurring. More and more local Broome people have decided that this proposed LNG Hub is not appropriate development for the Kimberley. More and more tourists from around Australia and the world are expressing their surprise that such a thing is being planned in an area lauded as one of the last true Wilderness areas of the world. We are living in a complacent age. University students no longer are on the streets protesting. Many people think that destruction of the planet is ‘inevitable’. Well think again Mr Barnett. Think again Woodside and Chevron and Shell and BP. A line has been drawn in the sands of Walmadan (James Price Point) Rod Hartvigsen STK Member