Gas hub plan 'an international disgrace'
The 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints at James Price Point - the site of a proposed gas hub - are far more extensive than previously thought and destroying them would be an "international disgrace", an expert claims.
University of Queensland palaeontologist Steve Salisbury trawled the site on the Dampier Peninsula last week and said he was blown away by the diversity and scope of prints he found.
He said he had concentrated his field work on the site of the proposed $30 billion gas processing precinct, 60km north of Broome. "I had read previously that there wasn't really much if anything at James Price Point so I was quite surprised," Dr Salisbury said.
"I probably saw about 10 different types of dinosaur footprints and trackways and vast areas that had been trampled by herds of giant sauropods … it's not restricted to one or two spots - it's the whole stretch of coast.
"A lot of the tracks that are there, there's no other record for those dinosaurs in Australia … it's the only record of them in the world."
Dr Salisbury said he could not accept a State Government- commissioned report which had concluded that the trackways were "not of museum-grade quality" and that removing or destroying them would be "regrettable" but "negligible".
"This is the only place in WA where you have dinosaur footprints and it is pretty much the only place where we can get a good sense of what sort of dinosaurs existed," he said.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is due to make a final decision at the end of next month on which parts of the Kimberley should be included in a national heritage listing.