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Browse LNG Precinct Regional Benefits Agreement
|Date:||30 June 2011|
|Sub Category:||Funding Agreement|
|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:||Compensation | Cultural Heritage | Economic Development | Health and Community Services | Housing, Construction and Infrastructure|
|The Browse LNG Precinct Regional Benefits 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 benefits to Indigenous people in the Dampier Peninsula and broader Kimberley region. The benefits under this agreement are made available in conjunction with the benefits outlined in the Browse LNG Precinct Project Agreement, although the latter agreement only prescribes benefits for the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People.
|Details of Agreement|
Benefits for the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People
The Agreement outlines the benefits to be provided by both the State of Western Australian and Woodside Energy Ltd.
The benefits provided by the State include:
- $20 million payment to a regional body established by traditional owners.
- $20 million for a regional Economic Development Fund. The purpose of this fund will be to assist the local Indigenous community to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the LNG Precinct. It shall do this by (a) encouraging sustainable business and employment opportunities; (b) creating and expanding Indigenous businesses; (c) investment; and (d) building asset ownership of the regional community.
- $30 million for a regional Indigenous Housing Fund. The purpose of this fund will be to (a) assist local Indigenous people to enter into home ownership and participate in Indigenous housing development projects in the Kimberley; (b) increase the number of local Indigenous people residing in secure, safe, suitable and
sustainable accommodation in the Kimberley; and (c) assist local Indigenous people to generate wealth through investment and building asset ownership.
- $20 million for a regional Education Fund. The purpose of this fund will be to (a) encourage local Indigenous people to take up educational opportunities; (b) provide assistance to local Indigenous people in achieving high standards in educational outcomes; and (c) provide support to local Indigenous people in achieving professional and vocational goals.
- $8 million for a Cultural Preservation Fund. The aim of this fund will be to protect cultural heritage. It will be directed at young people classified as 'at risk'.
- $108 million for the Kimberley Enhancement Scheme. The aim of this scheme will be to (a) supplement existing social programs in the region; (b) provide a mechanism for local Indigenous people to engage with the wider public to support their initiatives; (c) respond to the impact of the LNG Precinct on the local Indigenous population; and (d) provide for cooperative decision-making within the local Indigenous community.
- $15 million to create and jointly manage conservation reserves on the Dampier Peninsula with the Department of Environment and Conservation.
- 600 hectares of land for traditional owners.
- Reform of Indigenous land on the Dampier Peninsula.
The benefits provided by Woodside Energy include:
- a milestone payment to the regional Education Fund.
- payments to the Kimberley Enhancement Scheme.
- payments for any additional LNG trains (purification facilities) at the Precinct.
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 related to 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, 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 the 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 the 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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