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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

22 December 2006

Burrup emergency heritage request is declined

An application for an emergency heritage listing of WA’s Dampier Archipelego and the Burrup Peninsula has been declined by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.

“I have consistently stated on a number of occasions that I recognise the overall area is an extremely significant place and I will continue to work towards a National Heritage Listing,” he said.

“But on the basis of evidence presented to me, which includes advice from the Australian Heritage Council, I do not consider that the perceived threat to National Heritage values of the area warrants an emergency heritage listing. According to the Council, while the overall region has National Heritage values, not all sites in the Dampier Archipelago and the Burrup Peninsula have the required values.”

Senator Campbell said the request for emergency listing related to construction by Woodside Energy Ltd of onshore facilities for its Pluto liquified natural gas project.

“The area nominated in the emergency listing totalled 874 km2 of land comprising islands in the Dampier Archipelago and the Burrup Peninsula itself,” he said.

“But the only specific location which I am advised has an immediate threat to National Heritage values is part of the area known as Site A where the disturbance footprint is less than 0.2km2. This represents around 0.02% of the total area recommended under the broader National Heritage listing nomination.

“I have been advised that there is one standing stone within the disturbance footprint which might have National Heritage values, but that Aboriginal groups in consultation with the WA Government agreed the stone could be removed.

“I am further advised that the values that such stones represent are found in a number of sites on the Burrup and some islands in the Archipelago.

“Following advice from representatives of each of the five Traditional Owner groups, the disturbance footprint was designed by Woodside to ensure that no engravings of high archaeological significance would be impacted by development activities.

“There are believed to be up to 1 million pieces of rock art in the Dampier Archipelago, including in the Burrup area. Other motifs and archaeological material within the footprint will be relocated by Woodside in accordance with a cultural heritage management plan.

Senator Campbell said that while the area as a whole is a significant place, the perceived threat to National Heritage values of the Dampier Archipelago did not warrant an emergency listing.

“As such, I have today given approval to Woodside for initial preparation works at ‘Site A’, including engineering works and fencing.

Woodside has lodged a separate application for approval to proceed with its broader Pluto gas project. This will require approval by the WA and Australian governments before it can proceed.

The Australian Government is working closely with the WA Government and other stakeholders to finalise an outcome on the broader heritage nomination for the Burrup which balances the heritage significance of the area with the needs of industry.

“The Australian Government, together with the WA Government and key industry representatives have all publicly stated they believe that National Heritage listing and Australia’s economic prosperity can co-exist to the advantage of all Australians.

“Through negotiation with the WA Government we are close to achieving an outcome that will deliver a win for the environment, a win for Indigenous heritage and a win for Australia’s resources sector.

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Media Contacts:
Regina Titelius 08 9421 1755 or 0419 099 324
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

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