Aboriginal benefits deal turns to dust
Deal: Browse LNG signing at Parliament House in June, 2011. Premier Colin Barnett looks on as Rita Augustine signs the agreement. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Woodside's decision to pull out of the James Price Point LNG processing plant has created waves of bittersweet emotions in Broome.

Waardi Ltd - the administrative body for the Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr native title claim group - said millions of dollars supporting indigenous custodians had turned to dust.

"We are obviously disappointed in terms of the benefits that could have flowed to the traditional owners and community," Waardi chairman Warren Greatorex said.

But anti-gas hub protesters and Goolarabooloo lawman Phillip Roe united outside the Woodside office in Broome yesterday, claiming victory and the area could now be left in peace.

"(Colin) Barnett is thinking about putting a little gas hub in here but if he wants that, we're going to lock it and we're going to block it," Mr Roe said.

However, in a sign of the community divisions the proposed gas hub was causing, last year Rita Augustine, on behalf of Jabirr Jabirr traditional owners, wrote a published letter to anti-gas hub campaigner former Greens leader Bob Brown saying he was putting "dinosaur prints" above people and the benefits deal could save a community in despair as it would be used for suicide awareness programs, education and jobs, health and housing.

As extreme reactions to the decision continued, Kimberley Land Council chief executive Nolan Hunter stopped short of saying he was disappointed.

The project going ahead was obviously a key requirement for the $1.5 billion worth of benefits to flow to the local indigenous community over 30 years, but there was still the chance of "minimal benefits", he said.

Premier Colin Barnett said he was deeply upset indigenous people would be denied the benefits package.

Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said Aboriginal people should be allowed to keep the benefits package irrespective of how the gas was developed.

Broome Shire president Graeme Campbell said he was disappointed and some businesses were likely to leave.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West