New moves to acquire James Price Point
James Price Point cliffs. Picture: Leon Mead / The West Australian.

The State Government has announced new moves to compulsorily acquire 3414ha of land for its proposed gas processing precinct at James Price Point, several months after the Supreme Court ruled its original notices of intention to take the land invalid.

Premier Colin Barnett said Lands Minister Brendon Grylls had told all parties of the latest development and that the new notices would be formally advertised today.

The State Government had originally issued notices over 7000ha of land to “allow for flexibility in accommodating Aboriginal heritage requirements”, Mr Barnett said.

But in early December, WA Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin found the notices were insufficiently detailed and that new notices must be issued.

Lawyers representing Goolarabooloo man Phillip Roe and Jabbir Jabbir descendent Neil McKenzie have said the decision nullified the $1.5 billion agreement the State Government, traditional owners and Woodside signed in May, 2011.

However, Mr Barnett and Woodside have said the agreement was still valid and allowed for changes to the notices to be made.

Mr Barnett said the reissued notices took into account further consultation on Aboriginal heritage and detailed technical work undertaken by Woodside but the area of the proposed precinct had not changed.

The area includes about 2500ha for the precinct, port, related accommodation and light industrial areas as well as reservations for pipelines and roads.

In late December, Woodside announced it would delay its final investment decision on the $30 billion gas processing precinct until at least the first half of 2013 but said it remained committed to development at James Price Point.

Yesterday, a spokesman said the company was on track to meet its development milestones and final heritage and environmental surveys and subsurface geology studies would begin once wet weather eased in Broome.

Woodside expects to submit its final environmental impact statement for consideration by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke by mid-2012.

In the meantime, Woodside and joint venture partners BHP Billiton, Shell, BP and Chevron have sought a variation on the conditions attached to their retention leases requiring a final investment decision by mid 2012.

A spokesman for Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said the request was currently being considered by the Commonwealth-Western Australia Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority and State Government and a decision was expected soon.

A spokeswoman for the State Environmental Protection Authority said all necessary documentation for the gas precinct had been submitted for consideration and its report was also on track to be delivered next month.

The West Australian

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