Monday, July 4, 2011

WA Police set to do the dirty work for Woodside and the WA corporatocracy

The civil society and community campaign against Woodside's (in partnership with Shell, Chevron, BHP and BP) proposed $30 billion gas hub at James Price Point is about to enter a new phase with reports from Broome that Police are preparing to disrupt the month long blockade that has prevented Woodside contractors from clearing native vegetation at the proposed site. 

For nearly 30 days hundreds of protestors have prevented Woodside contractors from accessing the James Price Point site, claiming that they have neither Federal or State environmental or heritage clearances. Protestors claim they are resisting Woodside's contractors from undertaking illegal clearing at James Price Point.

Since last weeks  signing of a land access agreement between the WA Government, Woodside and some of the traditional owner's associated with the Kimberley Land Council, the rhetoric of Premier Barnett and the KLC's Chief Negotiator Wayne Bergman has become increasingly heated. 

Premier Barnett has accused the protestors of standing in the way of Aboriginal people, conveniently overlooking the fact that the majority of the protestors are Aboriginal people, some of whom are traditional owners of land around James Price Point.

Kimberley Land Council Chief Negotiator Wayne Bergman has accused the protestors of being rebels who are just "running amok in the face of what was a very legitimate process".

But many Aboriginal people, including some traditional owners reject Bergman's claims and a delegation of local Aboriginal people  are off to Canberra  to convince Federal politicians that there is mounting opposition in Broome to the proposed development.  Local Aboriginal leaders Anna Poelina, Mitch Torres and Alan Pigram have collected 3,000 signatures on a petition that opposes the  gas precinct at James Price Point on environmental and social grounds:
"Dr Poelina believes that people in Perth and Canberra have the impression that Aboriginal people and traditional owners are all very happy with the way business is being done. She says this isn't the case and that many Broome families want to slow the process down and seriously consider how industrialisation is coming to the Kimberley '...because we do not believe that it is good business."
Civil society groups are reporting that they expect the Police to attempt to clear the protestors to allow the Woodside contractors access to James Price Point. 

Community groups involved in the blockades are issuing advice to the protestors about how to respond to the anticipated Police action:
"Keep calm and respectful. They will try and provoke to get some resisting arrest charges. Try and get as many numbers on the ground as possible and stay your ground.................They will not be physically able to give you each a move on directive which they need to, though if you receive one it's up to you what you do with it. You do not need to move on, though if you are charged for resisting a move on directive you need to go with the officer, he needs to tell you you are under arrest.. At that point do not resist as you do not need a resisting arrest charge, or an assaulting police and or affray charge, stay calm and remember there is a greater power in numbers than you each can imagine. The country is so proud of each and everyone of you. Stay strong and true and respectful and you will be rewarded"

No comments: