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The War for the Kimberley

September 4th, 2010

Its official, James Price Point is now the subject of a compulsory acquisition  court action.  Just when I thought politicians couldn’t sink any lower, Colin Barnett take a bow, you have outdone yourself.  For those of you who came in late, this is James Price Point as it is today…

James Price Point at Sunset, Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley Region of Western Australia

If Colin Barnett and Co win the day this will be the site of a massive gas processing plant, stretching over 20 square km, complete with deep water harbour (blasted through the reef), sewage treatment plants & power generation facility, with all the extra bits and pieces that go with it. It will be an environmental disaster of profound and lasting proportions, it will be a great tragedy for all Australians, in fact all people, as one of the last of the worlds rare unspoilt places is irrevocably ruined forever.

It will also be just the beginning.  It’s not just James Price Point that the greedy politicians and their multi national mates have their beedy little eyes on, its the whole of the Kimberley, resource rich and ripe for the plucking for those who have the power supply, the ready cash and the ability to access it.  A power supply created by a massive gas processing hub built right there on the edge of the Kimberley Coastline, the ready cash from many years of excessively high profits and the access guaranteed by a government falling over itself to be obliging.

Colin Barnett would have us believe that he is doing all this to help the local Aboriginals, to create jobs for West Australians, that he cares…  I don’t believe him.  I think he is doing it for the multi nationals.

I am not against mining, that would be absurd.  I own a car made of steel, I use cameras made of various alloys and plastic, I use fuel daily, electricity, gas, diesel.  I just flew to Sydney and back on a jet.  What I am against is greed, and I am against mining and industry in the Kimberley.

Just to give you an example of what I mean by greed.  Last financial year, one mining company, call them company X, based in Western Australia (though covering most of the world) made US$10.72 billion NET profit …  Yes, that’s 10.72 Billion dollars.  NET profit.  In one year…

That company is owned by a whole bunch of people, shareholders, who essentially have no control over how the company is run, and are looking for a high rate of return on their investment. This company is run by a separate bunch of executives who are paid based on their performance.  Their performance is based on the profit they generate for the company.  You see the problem? Each party is entirely self motivated and detached from the reality of the big picture, so what you end up with are huge unwieldy organisations operating solely on a profit motive, where things like pristine wilderness have no value unless they can be turned into saleable items.

When I was a kid cool drinks came in glass bottles, so did milk.  We put the empties out the night before, or traded them at the corner deli for 8c each. They were taken away, cleaned, sterilised and refilled.  They were re-used, again and again.  The only place I see that now is in the third world.  Now Coca Cola come out with a new crushable plastic bottle and tell us how environmentally friendly they are because their new plastic bottle takes up less space in land fill, and we feel good about it!  Land Fill means chucking the rubbish in a hole and covering it up.  Filling the land with rubbish.

Deep Reflections-Dimond Gorge, Mornington Station in the Kimberley Region of WA

Dimond Gorge. Almost dammed in the 1950’s, saved by environmental action

We have the dubious honour of being the most woefully wasteful and excessively consumptive generation ever, Tim Flannery had it right when he called us the Future Eaters, because that’s exactly what we are doing, eating the future of our children.  What exactly are we leaving them?  Take a good look at that picture of James Price Point, called by our politicians “an insignificant piece of coastline”, we may be the last generation to ever see wild beautiful untouched places like this.  And you know, it will be our fault for letting it happen.  Don’t let it happen.


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