Activists take legal action over Kimberley gas hub

The Wilderness Society released this statement on December 20.


The Wilderness Society Western Australia and Goolarabooloo traditional custodian Richard Hunter have commenced legal proceedings against the WA Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and environment minister Bill Marmion in the WA supreme court over the approval of the controversial James Price Point gas processing complex.

The parties are seeking a judicial review of the decisions made around the proposal to locate the Browse LNG precinct at James Price Point, alleging the decision-making process was flawed because of conflicts of interest and improper delegations.

They are seeking to have the EPA report and subsequent ministerial decisions relying on it overturned on the grounds of apparent bias, improper delegation and a failure to follow proper procedures on the part of the EPA.

Wilderness Society WA Kimberley campaigner Heidi Nore said the community was shocked to learn about the disintegration of decision making processes within the EPA.

“The EPA process collapsed,” Nore said. “The EPA did not have a quorum when it made its decisions on James Price Point as four of the EPA’s five board members were ultimately conflicted out. However, three conflicted board members were involved in deliberations about James Price Point for several years before finally stepping down.

“If the supreme court agrees that the EPA has acted unlawfully, the James Price Point approvals should be overturned and the assessment process recommenced.

Mr Hunter said he looked forward to supreme court’s careful consideration of the serious matters raised by the EPA’s assessment process.

“It is my people’s country and culture that would be destroyed by the gas hub and we are not going to let governments cut corners or act unlawfully in their rush to industrialise the Kimberley,” Mr Hunter said.