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Browse LNG Precinct Project Agreement
|Date:||30 June 2011|
|Sub Category:||Future Act Agreement (Native Title Act)|
|Location:||James Price Point, Western Australia, Australia|
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|The agreement area covers approximately 2,500 hectares of unallocated Crown land in the Browse Basin, which is located approximately 425 kilometres off the Kimberley Coast, 60 kilometres north of Broome.|
|Subject Matter:||Cultural Heritage | Future Act | Native Title|
|The Browse LNG Precinct Project Agreement was agreed between: |
- the State of Western Australia;
- the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People; and
- Woodside Petroleum Ltd
The purpose of the Agreement is to provide consent for the establishment and operation of the Browse Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Precinct within the agreement area.
|Details of Agreement|
Native Title Consents and Approvals for the LNG Precinct
The Agreement primarily provides consents and approvals for the operation and establishment of the Browse LNG Precinct.
Benefits for the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People
The Agreement outlines the benefits to be provided by both the State of Western Australia and Woodside Energy Ltd.
The benefits provided by the State include:
- funding for an Administrative Body set up by the native title party ($5 million);
- contributions to an Economic Development Fund for the native title party ($10 million);
- contributions to an Indigenous Housing Fund ($20 million);
- commitments to provide business development, contracting, employment and training opportunities in accordance with the State Employment and Business Development Management Schedule;
- a grant of approximately 2900 hectares of freehold land to the native title party;
- a grant of specified land to an administrative body established by the native title party; and
- the grant of specified land to the native title party for the purpose of housing.
The benefits provided by Woodside Energy include:
- various milestone payments;
- annual payments ($3.6 million annually);
- funding for an Administrative Body set up by the native title party ($400,000);
- funding for a Business Development Organisation established for the benefit of the native title party;
- contracting opportunities for the native title party; and
- various other opportunities for the native title party, including employment and training, business opportunities and a ranger program.
Both the State and Woodside Energy Ltd additionally agree to provide benefits under the Browse LNG Precinct Regional Benefits Agreement. No further benefits will be provided to the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People by the State or by Woodside Energy Ltd.
Precinct Management Committee
The Precinct Management Committee will be composed of the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr, the State and all precinct operators. It will have a role in 'the establishment and operation of the precinct and oversight of cultural heritage management, environmental management, business development and contracting opportunities, cultural awareness training, land access and decommissioning of the precinct' (Government of Western Australia Fact Sheet, 2011).
Review of Agreement
The agreement is to be reviewed after 50 years.
Native Title in the Agreement Area
The Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People have registered an application for a determination of native title with respect to land and waters in Western Australia. Their application, which is titled Goolarabooloo - Jabirr Jabirr Peoples, was filed with the Federal Court of Australia on 8 October 1999 as proceeding WAD 6002 of 1998. It covers approximately 2322.38 square kilometres of land in north-west Western Australia. The Browse LNG Precinct covers 1.5 percent of the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People's native title claim area.
History of the Agreement
This is one of three agreements entered into by the State of Western Australia, the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People and Woodside Energy Ltd. All of these agreements are in connection with the Browse LNG Precinct. The Precinct is 'intended to commercialise gas and condensate fields in the Browse Basin. The Precinct will include offshore extraction and production facilities, pipelines to shore, onshore LNG and condensate production facilities, and associated export infrastructure' (Sydney Morning Herald, 2011). Before the project can commence, Woodside Energy Ltd must obtain environmental approvals from the State of Western Australia and the Commonwealth. A final investment decision from Woodside Energy Ltd is expected in 2012 and it is anticipated that LNG processing may commence at the site in 2016-17. In total, the agreements will provide a $1.5 billion compensation package, which is to be delivered over 30 years to the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People. Commitments have also been made to secure 300 jobs for Aboriginal people during construction of the project.
The parties commenced negotiating the agreement in 2008. In April 2009, they reached an in-principle agreement on the framework for negotiations, as well as key principles for the final agreement. A Heritage Protection Agreement was also signed in November 2009. This agreement provided guidance on the conduct of heritage surveys and the minimisation of impacts on sites of cultural importance.
Many controversies have arisen throughout the negotiation process for this agreement. The original deadline for completion of negotiations was September 2009. However, after the grant of two extensions, a final deadline of 20 June 2010 was set. In June 2010, the State of Western Australia and Woodside Energy Ltd were advised that divisions within the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr claimant group meant that the group would be unable to authorise an Indigenous Land Use Agreement providing consent to the establishment and operation of the Precinct. As a consequence, the State sought to compulsorily acquire the land that is the subject of this agreement. It is in this context that the State reached the present agreement with the native title parties.
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