Caught, RED-HANDED…Broome Shire Council

Criminal and illegal behaviour seems to be the norm in the mining and industrial arena these days. Some people seem to think that if you throw around a lot of money at people, you can get away with anything.

There is no better proponent of this than Woodside Petroleum, the West Australian Government and their agencies, and the Broome Shire Council. Thanks to blogs like Red Hand, and people like Martine, some of this bribery and corruption and news makes it to the public domain through blogs and Facebook.

Not just the illegal monitoring and photographing of all travellers on a Broome track, illegally photographing children and minors without parental or guardian permission. Woodside’s goons  (Hostile Environmental Services) doing this in cahoots with the local police must be amongst the worst criminal activity against people going about their business.

It turns out that practically every activity of Woodside’s, is illegal, aided and abetted by the Broome Shire Council, the EPA, DEC, and a whole consortium of government departments.

Not one request to see the necessary paperwork for approvals was ever granted, despite many requests from the traditional owners and the public. Now we know why.

Broome Shire up to their neck in it at James Price Point.

All Planning and development applications, drilling permits and extensions approved and granted by the Broome Shire for Lot 259 for Woodside on behalf of the Minister of Lands or the Department of State Development are all illegal.

All the work that Woodside has undertaken over the last 12 months in Country is illegal. The shire had no jurisdiction to grant such approvals because Woodside are not the owners of the land in question. The compulsory acquisition process that was recently declared invalid means that the state is not the owner either
The approvals granted by the shire and the conditions placed on these original approvals granted have been either completely ignored or not implemented at all. Woodside has done everything but what they supposedly had approvals for.

Woodside can spend millions of dollars, carving up vast sways of land, clear hectares of native vegetation, establish toxic industrial lay down areas, erect permanent fencing, police locked illegal gates, establish a workers camp, site officers and install 50 bores without any appropriate and relevant Local Government Planning Approvals. The real dissolution for all their troubles will be a $500 fine and to add insult to injury they will then be issued with retrospective planning approvals.

Broome Shire and Woodside’s blatant ignorance and complete lack of respect for the Aboriginal Heritage Act or its legislation needs to be seriously questioned and passionately challenged at every opportunity. They will be held accountable.

All the planning controls for the site and the locality fall within the Shire of Broome Interim Development Order No 4. And according to this Order it states
4. Application for, and Grant of, Approval

(b) Application shall be made by or on behalf of the owner of the land and shall be accompanied by three copies of a plan or plans drawn to scale illustrating the proposed development and its location and indicating the type and construction or any buildings or works proposed.
So who is the owner of the land?

Given the fact that Lot 259 is unregulated Crown Land and the fact that either Woodside or the Minister of Lands is the owner of this land, how were any of these Shire planning approvals, drilling permits and extensions ever granted? There is still the matter of a registered native title claim over the land in question.

Who owns the land?
Given the decision handed down by the Supreme Court last week in regards to the Compulsory Acquisition Notices this question seems even more pertinent.

According to the Shire of Broome Interim Development Order NO 4
Where conditional approval to the carrying out of development is given under paragraph 4 of this Order states that no person shall commence, carry out, or complete that development otherwise than in accordance with the condition or conditions upon which the approval is given …….
Planning Approval issued by the Broome Shire on the 30th September 2010 to Woodside clearly stated that the proposal will obtain all the necessary approvals and clearance from all necessary Government Departments.

Every one of the Planning Approvals, Permits and Extensions issued to Woodside on behalf of the WA Department of State Development, by the Broome Shire had very clear Conditions placed on them in regards to the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

In November 2010 Woodside wrote to CEO of the Broome Shire seeking permission to undertake geophysical survey on Manari Road. In this correspondence Woodside clearly stated that they are aware that this survey fell within areas covered by the Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register and that they would consult with DIA.

In a Broome Shire Media release on Dec 7th 2010 it stated that Woodside is to obtain all Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Approvals prior to work being undertaken.

In January of 2011, Woodside sought an extension to this original geotechnical approval from the Shire which was also granted with the Condition 17, which stated Woodside are to obtain all necessary Aboriginal Cultural Heritage approvals prior to the work being undertaken.
Therefore, neither Woodside nor the Minister of Lands applied for, or to this date, been granted a Section 16, 17 & 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act to undertake these investigations and works. So what does the Broome shire intend to do about this?

Joseph Roe is the one and only registered Principle Informant with the Register for Aboriginal Heritage for the area concerned and has never been consulted about these works.
The Broome Shire Council has worked closely with the Goolarabooloo people for years and was one of many government agencies who sponsored the posting of signs throughout Country. These signs show the Songline in map form, with places named in proper language and even the stories of the dreaming are inscribed.

They were established in order to educate people about the presence of a highly significant and numerous Cultural Heritage Sites that stretch the entire length of the western side of the Damiper Peninsula and is commonly known as the Lurrujarri Song Cycle.

The Broome Shire logo is on every one of those signs, proudly sponsored by. How can the Shire now abandon this amazing living Songline and our precious cultural heritage and deny it now in the face of this great destructive adversity.

Out of respect why didn’t the Shire ensure or investigate when advised months ago that Woodside did not have the necessary and appropriate approvals under the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
And according to The Shire of Broome Interim Development Order NO 4
(b) Development to be carried out in accordance with approval plans
Where, pursuant to the provisions of the Order, plans indicating the form which development and other works shall take is approved by the Council, no development or other works shall be carried out otherwise than in strict accordance with the approved plans.

So like many other government agencies, who have been severely compromised and waived their legislated obligations during the whole corrupted process of getting Woodside into Country regardless of the rules and regulations, many court challenges are definitely on the drawing board for the coming new year. Many will be called to account and will be held accountable.
They will never return to Country.

The Broome Shire Council met last night, and the Woodside discussion was closed to the public. I guess they didn’t want this to become public, but with new indigenous councillors, change.

Thanks to Red Hand at Hands Off Country and Martine at Facebook…

Goolarabooloo always said NO to Woodside

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc.
This entry was posted in Broome/Kimberley, Environment, Oz politics, Resources and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Caught, RED-HANDED…Broome Shire Council

  1. mal wade says:

    i believe without any doubt that it is time to bring in high powerd lawyers to take the shire to task
    i,ll bet if i plonked a transportable house in country to live in without the proper aprovals.the shire would act

  2. oxes3 says:

    great story Tom, and as you say persistance from the local community is bringing great results. I have many letters from several State government Ministers and depts, including Broomes local Liberal “representative” Barry Haase, telling me they have all the lawful permissions, but none of them would state what they were, nor did any of them respond to direct questions in regards to specific Acts and Agreements ,or “Sections” required. Every department has lied in writing to thousands of us from outside Broome, as well as to Kimberley locals and TO’s. All evidence one might think.

  3. Pingback: Caught, RED-HANDED…Broome Shire Council -

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