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Wilderness Society - Save the Kimberley Campaigners at the Sydney office

Photo taken by Daryl Morris on 20 November 2012

Coming up:

7 August 2013 - 7:30pm - Parramatta

Kimberley Gas Hub: For and Against

Building Bridges 2013 - every Wednesday in August

7:30 pm, Parramatta Town Hall

Program and further information


Guest speaker: Glen Klatosvky

More info:
9 September 2013 - 7:30pm - Mona Vale


Hosted by Mona Vale Aboriginal Support Group MWP

When: Monday Sept 9th at 7.30pm
Where: Mona Vale Memorial Hall, 1606 Pittwater Rd, Mona Vale (Next to Mona Vale Library)

Guest speaker: Glen Klatovsky

Glen will update us on the current situation and future developments ... and what it means for Aboriginal people.

For the flyer: please click here

More info: pleae click here

Join us on the 18th July in Sydney as we celebrate the historic win at James Price Point, and hear from those who are fighting for their Arnhem Land sea country.

Kimberley Celebration
July 18th, 6.30pm @ GT Hotel (Previously the Gaelic Club)

You are invited to attend an evening of music and dance to celebrate the extraordinary Kimberley region, and the people who came together to save it from a destructive gas hub development. 


Featuring: Traditional Arnhem Land Dancers , Gambirra, The Barefoot Band [Feat. Benjamin Goldstein, The Rhythm Hunters…Plus hear from Traditional Owners from Arnhem Land speaking about the battle to save their sea country from American resources giant Paltar Petroleum. For further information visit our webpage. or contact Kaine Johnson. If you want to help out, contact our amazing Events Coordinator Stephanie for ways to get involved!

Arnhem Land Traditional Owners in Sydney
July 17-19th

Protest Action @ Paltar HQ 12pm July 19 + Kimberley Celebration Presentation

5 Amazing Traditional Owners from Arnhem Land are coming to Sydney to raise awareness and garner support on their mission to stop Paltar Petroleum from drilling in their sea country, just off the coast of the Northern Territory. We’re lucky to have them at speak at the Kimberley celebration on the 18th, and then on the Friday afterwards, we’ll be gathering outside Paltar HQ in Martin Place sending the message that the Wilderness Society supports the TOs, rejects Paltar’s attempts to drill offshore and get media attention on the issue.

COME ALONG AND SUPPORT at both the Kimberley Celebration and the action. 


Traditional owners seek your assistance to save Arnhem land from oil and gas companies - 9 July 2013

Traditional Owners and the Protect Arnhem Land community campaign (based in Maningrida) are seeking the assistance of environment groups and Indigenous networks in Sydney to help raise awareness of the threat to Arnhem Land from oil and gas exploration.
Five traditional owners are travelling from Maningrida to Sydney in mid July and will hold a public event in Martin Place outside the offices of Paltar Petroleum at midday on Friday 19 July. ...


Background articles:

Tracker - Jeff McMullen - THE WAY AHEAD: The new land grab - 18 June 2013
...what really is driving policies such as the Northern Territory Intervention and the extraordinary social engineering to control Aboriginal people still living on traditional lands....
Some Jabirr Jabirr elders signed off on the promise of a $1.5 billion dollar benefits package planned to last for decades but others, especially Goolarabooloo people, always opposed the construction on their lands of the largest industrial complex ever envisaged in the southern hemisphere.
Woodside’s decision not to go ahead with the $40 billion dollar gas complex on the coast was largely a response to market issues and technological risks with an on shore facility, highlighted constantly by a fierce Aboriginal resistance to the trampling of their land rights. In this case, clearly the mining companies and the State Government circumvented most of the usual Native Title processes. This is the distressing pattern of neo-liberal development.
While the giant machines scrape the red dirt country like scenes from the movie Avatar and the foreign ships line up around our shores for iron ore, bauxite, coal and uranium, so far there is little evidence that mining has eased the disadvantage of Australia’s half a million Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ...

James Price Point – victory or loss? by Sara Burnside -
article in special mining issue 124 of Arena Magazine on the debates surrounding the proposed (and seemingly doomed) gas hub at James Price Point
Protect Arnhem Land - Facebook

ABC News - Locals concerned over NLC fracking 'push' - 23 April 2013
Indigenous residents in the Mataranka and the Roper region are accusing the Northern Land Council of encouraging the approval of oil and gas exploration on their land.....

WGAR News: Arnhem Land Traditional Owners call for an end to fracking: The Stringer - 22 March 2013

ABC News - Traditional owners burn Arnhem Land fracking plan - 18 March 2013
Arnhem Land traditional owners have decided to paint a petition to send to Darwin and Canberra calling on the Northern Territory and Federal governments not to allow their country to be fracked.
More than 80 per cent of the Northern Territory is now under application for unconventional oil and gas exploration, including most of Arnhem Land. ...

Lateline Business - Northern Land Council wants fracking halt - 14 November 2011
The Northern Land Council is calling for more research on hydraulic fracturing for gas extraction before the Territory Government gives any fracking permits.

ABC Radio National -
The Indigenous landowners of Arnhem Land are calling on the Northern Territory and federal governments to ban fracking in the area by Paltar Petroleum. But while traditional owners can legally veto plans to frack on land, they have no rights over the sea.

Media Release         Wilderness Society       19 December 2012

Wilderness Society takes WA EPA to Court

By Jenita Enevoldsen
by Jenita Enevoldsen

The Wilderness Society will join with Goolarabooloo Traditional Custodian, Richard Hunter, in taking both the West Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the state's Environment Minister to the Supreme Court over gross mishandling of conflicts of interest in relation to assessment of the proposed Kimberley gas hub.

This enormous project, covering an area 20 times the size of the Melbourne CBD, is a proposal of the West Australian Department of State Development and is being assessed by another government agency, the EPA. The West Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, is the Minister for State Development, and thus the proponent.

As evidenced by a long list of blunders, the government has repeatedly failed to display any sense of procedural competence or scientific rigour in relation to environmental and cultural assessments of this highly contested project. One of it's most spectacular failings has been its improper handling of conflicts of interest declared by four of its five board members (dating back to 2009) revealed in mid 2012.

The backstory

On July 16 of this year, the West Australian EPA released its Report and Recommendations on the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) hub at James Price Point. The Report recommended approval of the gas hub with some conditions. But the Report was finalised and released by just one of the five EPA Board members – the Chair. The remaining four were forced to stand aside due to conflicts of interest.

The 'one-man decision' was highly controversial and led to a record number of public appeals. A subsequent attempt by the EPA to quietly approve the first LNG processing facility at James Price Point as a 'derived proposal' (meaning it would require no futher assessment) also triggered public outcry and saw approximately 1800 public submissions lodged in less than a week.

On the release of the Report, the Chair of the EPA stated that the assessment had been "the largest and most multi-faceted conducted in the EPA's 40-year history.” Yet apparently it was acceptable for one person to make this monumental decision.

In what appears to have been a fortuitous coincidence, the West Australian Government actually changed the law in 2011 to allow for only one member of the EPA to make decisions. However, under the relevant legislation (the Environment Protection Act 1986) the way in which the conflicts of interest were dealt with appears to have been unlawful. This is at the heart of the case we’ll be bringing before the Court in 2013.

Read more:

To get involved:


Further Information
Looking after Country!
One of the major responsibilities of the Kimberley Law Bosses (the Elders) is to ensure that Traditional Culture (Law) is passed down to succeeding generations, in order to keep the Country and it's people safe. ...
Joseph Roe holds the responsibility for the continuity of the Songline and its capacity to sustain life in its fullest. This includes keeping the coastal land clear of any development that would interfere with their law and culture, or damage their song cycle, places and sites. ...
The Goolarabooloo people are still actively engaged in looking after country, despite living within a western world that would have them sell it, for the greater economic resources of the nation. They believe that connection with country and culture is the base of one's' true sense of identity, spiritual and physical health, and self-esteem.

This LNG gas precinct proposal is a frightening prospect
This LNG Gas Precinct Proposal for James Price Point to be utilized for up to 100 years, is a dangerous and frightening prospect for the Traditional Owners and Custodians.

Without Country, there can be no Culture. Law cannot be practised. Nor can the Country be 'kept quiet'.
James Price Point (Walmadan) is midway in the Lurujarri Heritage Trail.
Its development as a Gas Precinct would destroy the trail forever. It would also adversely affect the other traditional activities carried out in that area.
It would be a betrayal of our heritage!
No amount of money could compensate for loss of our heritage. We ask why we should be expected to sacrifice so much for benefits, like health and education services, that other Australians receive as birth right. ...
Our Country holds our HeritageApart from the obvious environmental impact of this proposed industrialisation, which has been well documented, the significant issue of the preservation of our Aboriginal cultural and spiritual heritage, has not been given due consideration. This Law has been kept alive through Paddy Roe and now through his grandson, Joseph Roe.
If this threatened development goes ahead, our Country is gone forever. ...

Looking After Our Spirit

Respected Indigenous leader and second-generation Broome resident, Dr. Anne Poelina, is determined to save her home town which is seriously under threat from the imposition of what will be the world’s largest industrial gas hub....

Video clip at:


is the poignant and politically powerful story of Bardi elder Roy Wiggan passing onto his nephew Albert the traditional Aboriginal craft of raft-making.

In the process they travel from their country - the rugged and ancient beauty of the Kimberley region, one of the few remaining wildernesses on the planet - to the once pristine, now industrialised Pilbara to the south.
As Roy instructs Albert in Bardi raft-making, the land of their people is being destroyed by mining developments. To the Bardi people, "country" is not real estate to be bought and sold. It is the essence of their Aboriginal being. But now Roy and Albert believe that mining "will destroy our lifestyle and culture."
Roy and Albert's dialogue in this beautifully-shot piece revolves around not just raft building, but their thoughts on the destructive impact of "New Country" industrialisation on their "Old Country".
2009 Gaia Media, Australia
Music by Xavier Rudd, Missy Higgins, Will Thomas and Kerri-Anne Cox
For the trailer: please click here

Albert Wiggan and Uncle Roy devastated at their first sight of an LNG plant (Pilbara) after their trip down from Country on the Dampier Peninsula. Screenshot from film 'Old Country New Country -- The Journey of a Raft'.

Our job was to look after this country. Our job was to respect this land. It’s in our dreaming. It’s in our songs passed on for thousands of years. Now they want to take it all away -- the last bit of Australia: The Kimberleys
Albert Wiggan

According to George Negus, the program’s presenter and Co-Executive Producer with Kirsty Cockburn, the story highlights two countries, two Australias – “theirs and ours that we call progress.”
“This short-film asks: Do these people stay with the old ways and continue their traditional lifestyle and culture? Or do they take the new ways and give up the very thing by which they define themselves ?” he asks.


Albert's Monologue - OLD COUNTRY NEW COUNTRY

Albert Wiggan's powerful monologue from OLD COUNTRY NEW COUNTRY on Woodside Energy's proposed $30 billion gas plant at James Price Point, 50kms north of Broome WA. This development would be the world's second largest LNG refinery and pose a serious threat to the community, environment and culture of the area. If approved, this would be the first of many developments to eventually mine and industrialise the entire Kimberley Region, one of the world's last remaining wildernesses.

Natural gas can be extracted and processed on either a floating refinery out at sea, or piped to already existing infrastructure in the Pilbara to the south. It does NOT need to be brought on shore in the Kimberley.

This is not a done deal. Help protect on of the world's last remaining untouched treasures, The Kimberley.


Watch the Video: Old Country New Country - 2009 GAIA Media Aus 


Save the Kimberley - former Federal Court judge joins the fight
Former Federal Court judge Murray Wilcox has described the proposal to develop a massive gas processing hub on Western Australia's Dampier Peninsula as 'Australia's next great environmental controversy'. The Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, is expected to decide on federal approvals for the Kimberley Coast project by mid-year.


Online Book
Kimberley at the Crossroads - The case against the gas plant - Compiled by Murray Wilcox QC, former Federal Court judge for Save The Kimberley

Save The Kimberley: Kimberley at the Crossroads – PDF now available!
19 Sep 12: "In 2010, with the help of Murray Wilcox QC, STK published this beautifully illustrated volume, 'the case against the gas plant,' (the work’s subtitle) in order to educate our state and federal politicians of the values of Walmadan and surrounding areas, which would be affected by the proposed gas plant. ... Now out of print, but still in high demand, Kimberley at the Crossroads can for the first time be downloaded as a PDF HERE:

Australian Humanities Review
Issue 53, November 2012
Politics, Protest and Performativity: The Broome Community’s ‘No Gas on the Kimberley Coast’ Campaign
By Kathie Muir


Law Below the Top Soil, by Dr. Peter Botsman
a concise history of the flawed proposal to develop Browse Gas at James Price Point
The “Botsman report” explores the interconnected roles of the WA government, Woodside Petroleum and the Kimberley Land Council that have resulted in a proposal for a massive gas hub at James Price Point. The report outlines the major meetings and dealings of the parties involved, revealing major flaws in the process. Moreover, the report provides a compelling case for the proposed development at JPP to be permanently shelved and for the ultimate protection of that country.
Subsequently, recent conflict of interest and probity issues surrounding the EPA, WA government and Woodside have emerged that further raise serious questions about the integrity of the process. ...
Excerpt of Dr. Peter Botsman’s key findings as listed in Law Below the Top Soil:

  1. For overwhelming economic, social, cultural and environmental reasons the LNG precinct proposed for Walmadany (James Price Point) should not be built.  … (3) payments and benefits for the Indigenous community. ...are not sufficient to (1) destroy the significant traditional cultural heritage of the area… . 
  1. The Lurujarri Trail….should be preserved in a pristine state forever in accordance with the wishes of the traditional law holders and custodians who know the law and spirit of the land. 
  1. .... 
  1. All Australian economic development on Aboriginal land needs to be in accordance with the principle of Indigenous Free Prior Informed Consent (IFPIC). The threat of compulsory acquisition of the Walmadany lands and the formal bureaucratic methods of the Native Title process that took place in relation to it need to be reviewed in the light of IFPIC. In short, Australia needs to bring its laws and processes into line with the principles of IFPIC. 
  1. Traditional Indigenous decision-making is best practice decision making. ...
  1. ... 
  1. The hardship and plight of Kimberley Indigenous peoples is well understood. The need to celebrate and practise traditional law and culture as well as participate in the best of the mainstream world is the goal of all Indigenous people supported by all honourable Australians…. 

To download the report: please click here

James Price Point Science Assessment Report -
The Wilderness Society & Environs Kimberley & Conservation Council of WA
- May 2012
Page 13
Gas hub threatens gubinge: Traditional Owner
ABC – Friday, 24/12/2010
The future for one of Western Australia’s niche bush tucker industries is under threat, according to one of the traditional owners north of Broome.
Nyul Nyul elder Bruno Dann, says the proposed site for a gas precinct on James Price Point, is on one of the State’s most productive areas for gubinge. Otherwise known as Kakadu Plum, gubinge is regarded as one of the richest sources of vitamin C in the world.
In recent years, Indigenous communities have been making good money by harvesting the fruit, which is being used by companies to make things such as anti-oxidant tablets, jams, chutneys, and cordials. ...
Page 21
Woodside has been permitted until mid-2013, to make its final investment decision. It is increasingly likely Woodside and its joint venture partners will decide against the JPP option in favour of piping to brownfields sites in the Pilbara or floating LNG, or a combination of the two.
In December 2011 the WA Supreme Court found that WA government attempts to compulsorily acquire land at James Price Point for the gas hub were unlawful. This has led to further delays and a recommencement of the compulsory acquisition process.
In February 2012, Goolarabooloo Traditional Owners split from the Jabirr Jabirr to lodge their own native title claim and deal separately with the state government in negotiations over land access at James Price Point. As the Goolarabooloo have been steadfast opponents of industrialisation of James Price Point, it is highly likely that the compulsory acquisition process will be extremely lengthy and vigorously opposed.....
Page 22
Community and regional benefits
In relation to Indigenous and regional benefits, there is nothing to prevent the Commonwealth and State governments and Woodside Ltd from agreeing to set aside a percentage of the income each will derive from Browse gas for Indigenous and other regional community development programs in the Kimberley, regardless of where the gas itself is processed....
Obviously, funding for essential health and education services to Kimberley communities should not be dependent upon or tied to income from resource mega-projects as this would be inequitable and arguably racist.
Page 30
APPENDIX 7: Failure of DSD to take account of Indigenous Heritage values
In relation to the Aboriginal song cycle at James Price Point at what point did the Department of State Development become aware of the WA Museum’s July 1991 report of the ethnographic survey of exploration applications EQ4/645 and EQ4/647, which determined the area was an Aboriginal protected area?”
The Department of State Development first became aware of the existence of the 1991 Department of Aboriginal Sites report in August 2010. This was a result of a "passing" reference made to it in a Kimberley Land Council report to the Browse LNG Precinct Strategic Assessment.”

The Kimberley

  • become-a-kimberley-campaigner-easyslider-700x230.jpg

The Kimberley region of northern WA is one of the world’s great natural and Indigenous cultural regions. ...

Save The Kimberley:  What’s at Stake? Culture and Traditions Under Threat
The importance of culture
Today, more than 30 Aboriginal tribes remain in the Kimberley region, each with its own language and many with unique cultural practices. Nobody owns culture. It is loaned to each generation to preserve and pass on to the next generation. Our culture and traditions tie us to this country and we are obliged by our ancestors to see that it continues. We are obliged by respect of country and the hope for a proper life for our children that we honour the culture and traditions of our people.
A home to the world’s most ancient continuous culture
Sustainable living in the Kimberley
… Heavy industrial development threatens …to directly damage country, our sacred sites and special songlines. The infrastructure which it brings will open the land to further destructive developments and an erosion of country and culture; an erosion of us.
It’s difficult to see how this use of country can be made in any way compatible with the past, present or future of the Traditional Owners of the Kimberley.
What of the future?
… If we lose our land, our sacred places or our country is somehow compromised we will be lost both as individuals and as a race of man. We will become like others who have no place in this land or this world. We will cease to exist.
Who knows best for us?
We ask politicians to accept that their ways are not always our ways and that they cannot know what is right for the peoples of our ancient culture. We have lived in this way in this country since long before the first crops were grown in Europe or the pyramids of Egypt even possible. Understanding this is called “respect”.

... James Price Point, 40km north of Broome on one of the world’s most pristine coastlines, is the proposed site for the largest gas processing plant in the world. If approved, it would open up the floodgates to industrial development on a scale never seen before in northern Australia (for more information (click here).


Further weblinks: - Save the Kimberley - Save the Kimberley - Facebook - Kerrianne Cox - Broome Community No Gas Campaign - Protect the Kimberley - The Wilderness Society - Hands off Country - Further info and past events - Timeline Photo - Operation Kimberley Minimbi - OKM in German - Negus Media International

News - compilation of news articles - Tracker - National Indigenous Times - Save the Kimberley - WGAR News - SBS News - Kerrianne Cox: News  or - Environs Kimberley - scroll down for news articles - Yahoo: The Battle of Broome -  several news articles compiled - various articles


* Kimberley Campaign web-resources
* Kimberley Campaign Petitions
* Recent Kimberley Campaign News (16 May 2012 - 22 December 2012)

Video Clips - youtube clip - The Wilderness Society video clip - Kerrianne Cox - Broome Families Say No
This video gives a voice to Broome Families, please watch it.
"Mr Barnett, Woodside, Shell, Chevron, BP, BHP this is the voice of the families of Broome who do not want the proposed Gas Hub at Walmadan-James Price Point - we want you to look at the other alternatives that are viable: Piping to the Pilbara or the off shore processing floating hub." Mitch Torres - Handsoffcountry - "Woodside In Country, trashing the Song Cycle" - Below the video is a message by Joseph Roe, Senior Law Boss and Law Keeper, Goolarabooloo -  This video was made in October 2011 when Woodside went into the Walmadany sanddunes without any permission nor did they have a Section 18. Woodside carved tracks into the dunes that had never seen a vehicle on them ever before. In their destructive illegal activity they drove straight through ancient middens, over artifacts,  through ceremonial sites and also dislodged skeleton remains. Complaints made to the Department of Indigenous Affairs, by the Goolarabooloo people have never been fully investigated nor has Woodside been prosecuted for this outrageous deliberate damage to registered Cultural Sites.
Source: - Save the Kimberley - Save the Kimberley -  Broome Police fly in riot squad to break up manari road blockade

Take Action Gas - Write a Letter today!

Letter writing guide:


Tony Burke: Protect sacred Aboriginal burial grounds in the Kimberley by Teresa Roe, Broome
The WA State government has given permission for Woodside's proposed gas plant to disturb ancient burial grounds in the dunes near James Price Point (Walmadany) without giving any rationale, and despite findings by a previous State Government that these sites must be protected for environmental and cultural heritage reasons. Traditional owner, Teresa Roe says, “My spirit comes from this country. My sister was stolen by welfare so my parents hid me, so I could be raised on country with my culture.  I raised 9 of my own children and 8 of my sisters children after she passed away.  My sons are the law men for this country. They have the responsibility to protect it. They hold the songs, the stories.  Our ancestors are buried in those dunes. No one would allow a whitefella cemetery to be dug up so why here? ...

The Wilderness Society Petition: Protect the heritage values of the Kimberley and Stop the Gas Hub!

Care2 petition site: Please Save The Kimberley and Humpback Whales: