Land acquisition for James Price Point ruled as ‘invalid’

THE compulsory land acquisition process underpinning Woodside’s proposed $30 billion gas hub at James Price Point in WA’s north has been ruled ‘invalid’ by the State’s Supreme Court.
In a judgement report of the decision that was handed down on December 6 last year, Chief Justice Wayne Martin said that three notices of intention (known as the Precinct, Infrastructure and Roads notices) issued
in 2010 by Lands minister Brendon Grylls were invalid because they did not contain “a description of the land required”. However, Justice Martin said that the declaration of the process as being invalid would not prevent Mr Grylls from issuing further notices of intention to compulsorily acquire the land, provided they were in compliance with the Land Administration Act 1997.
The ruling was made after the notices were challenged by traditional land owners Neil McKenzie and Phillip Roe, who represent the Jabbir Jabbir and Goolarabooloo native tribe groups. “Mr McKenzie and Mr Roe have a
sufficient interest in the validity of those notices to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. Their claims are upheld, and there will be declarations as to the invalidity of the notices,” Justice Martin said in the judgement report.
The Woodside gas hub would be built to process gas from the Browse Basin off the Kimberley coast, but its development has been met with a string of obstacles. In a written response from Woodside, a spokesperson said that the provision of the land for the Browse LNG precinct was a matter for the State.
“We do not believe that this result will impact on our work program and our activities are continuing onsite as scheduled,” the spokesperson said. Facilities of the gas hub would include one or more processing plants, pipelines, a port, light industrial facilities, worker accommodation, a new road, and service connections to amenities such as water and power.


By Jaimee Conn

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