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Browse (Land) Agreement

Category: Agreement
Date: 30 June 2011
Sub Category:Conservation Agreement
Location:James Price Point, Western Australia, Australia
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.
URL: http://www.dsd.wa.gov.au/documents/Land_Agreement_web.pdf
Summary Information:
The Browse LNG Precinct Project Agreement was agreed between:
- the State of Western Australia; and
- the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr People.

The purpose of the Agreement is to:
- restrict the use of the facilities to liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing;
- rehabilitate the land following the closure of the facility; and
- return the land to the traditional owners following closure of the facility.

This agreement was ratified by Parliament under the Government Agreements Act 1979 (WA). It is the first agreement to be entered into by a state government and traditional owners.
Detailed Information:
Details of Agreement

Permitted use of the LNG Precinct

The State agrees that the Precinct will only be used for the processing of LNG. The State also agrees that it will not authorise the establishment of any other gas processing facilities on the Kimberley Coastline.

Closure of the LNG Precinct

The Precinct's life is to be limited to a maximum of 100 years, following which it will be closed down. If the Precinct is not being used at any time, the agreement also provides a mechanism for its closure.

Even after closure, the State may exercise its discretion to continue to operate the port attached to the LNG Precinct.

Upon closure, the State commits to rehabilitate and remediate the land that is the subject of this agreement. The State also commits to return that land to the traditional owners in a form of title to be agreed upon by the parties.

Background

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 2016-2017. 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 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. 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 the subject of this agreement. It is in this context that the state reached the present agreement with the native title parties.

Related Entries

Agreement
  • Browse LNG Precinct Project Agreement
  • Browse LNG Precinct Regional Benefits Agreement
  • Organisation
  • State of Western Australia
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • People
  • Goolarabooloo People
  • Jabirr Jabbir People

  • References

    Fact Sheet
    Government of Western Australia Browse LNG Precinct: Native Title and Indigenous Heritage (Fact Sheet 3)
    Government of Western Australia Browse LNG Precinct: The Native Title Agreements (Overview)
    Government of Western Australia Browse LNG Precinct: Browse (Land) Agreement
    Newspaper Article
    Ben Collins The Fight Over Kimberley Gas
    The Australian (7 April 2010) Divided Aborigines in Vital Vote Over $30bn Gas Plant Plan
    Andrew Burrell (23 April 2011 ) Browse Gas Project Hits More Headwinds
    Sydney Morning Herald (30 June 2011) Woodside Signs Browse Native Title Deal
    Narelle Towie (2 September 2010) Colin Barnett Moves to Acquire Land for Kimberley Gas Project
    Resource
    Kimberley Land Council (30 June 2011) Traditional Owners Sign James Price Point Agreement
    Tony Eastley (18 August 2011) Other Traditional Owners Talk Up Benefits of Gas Hub
    National Native Title Tribunal Claimant Application Summary - Goolarabooloo - Jabirr Jabirr Peoples

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