Push for UN to visit gas hub

Date of publication: 
30 January 2013

More traditional owners in the Kimberley have called on the United Nations to intervene in Woodside’s planned Browse gas project.

KRED Enterprises, a charitable trust set up by the Kimberley Land Council and representing three native title groups in the region, last week requested a UN visit to ensure the rights of native title holders are protected under resource development agreements.

Today, the Goolarabooloo people said they had sent an urgent appeal to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, telling it their rights under 15 articles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are being violated by the State Government and resource companies.

The Goolarabooloo people are staunchly opposed to the Browse project, saying it disrespects their law, culture, and song cycle, which identifies heritage sites.

The project has also angered environmentalists and concerned paleontologists, with the State Government’s bid to compulsorily acquire the land after a legal stoush between native title claimant groups proving a particularly contentious issue.

“We are supposed to have the right for free and prior informed consent; instead we get the compulsory acquisition of our land,” Goolarabooloo elder Phillip Roe said.

“We’re supposed to have the right to protect our law, culture and sites, but when we ask for our sites to be protected, the State Government approves their destruction.

“When we try to stop this destruction, we’re given move on notices from the police and told we’ll be arrested.”

It recently emerged that work in sand dunes near James Price Point, the proposed location of the Browse project, could disturb ancient Aboriginal burial grounds, prompting calls for federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to intervene.