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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 7264


Mr HAASE (9:30 AM) —I rise this morning in this place to bring to the House’s attention the fact that on the Kimberley coast in Western Australia we are planning to create an LNG processing hub specifically for product coming initially out of the Browse Basin. The press last Sunday in Western Australia, specifically the Sunday Times, headlined ‘The battle for Broome’ and ‘Battleline drawn at wilderness gas hub’. It is a lot of piffle. We have got a line-up of would-be, second-rate celebrities, including George Negus, Missy Higgins, John Butler, Di Morrissey, somebody called Geoffrey Cousins—I’ve never heard of him!—and a second-rate drummer by the name of Rob Hirst all wanting to maintain their glorious lifestyle elsewhere in Australia whilst they pontificate about the denial of job opportunities and a future for Indigenous people who have called the Kimberley region home for more than 40,000 years. This annoys me.

This project is going to pay taxes, it is going to pay royalties, it is going to employ people. It is going to put money into government coffers that will afford the maintenance of selected areas for national parks and for the creation of tourism infrastructure et cetera that will guarantee the maintenance of our natural environment, which is so precious. The promoters of this project, specifically Woodside, are responsible developers. They are responsible employers. Their work on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia has been exceptional. You can go to the Burrup Peninsula today and see on the other side of their fence a perfect environment, an unpolluted environment; certainly not a destroyed environment.

George Negus, for instance, says we should not process this gas in the Kimberley, we should take it to the already destroyed Pilbara. It is an absolute nonsense. This project proposed in the Kimberley region, north of Broome, is some 60 kilometres away from Broome. It will have a boundary of approximately five kilometres by five kilometres. It is going on what is an ex-pastoral station, already changed permanently from its original natural situation. There is no rock art. There is no endangered fauna. It will not disturb the whales at sea who come regularly to the Burrup Peninsula to see what is going on down there. This is going to be a tiny spot in an area twice the size of Victoria. To suggest that its creation will somehow ruin the last bastion of wilderness in the world is an absolute nonsense. Celebrities should get out of the way and let Indigenous people get a job. (Time expired)