Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Western Australia’s repressive police regime, in the interests of mining companies

So is this the new Australia, produced by the longest mining boom in our history? One in which the views of residents and traditional owners are meaningless and where the state provides armies of foot soldiers, free of charge, to the big end of town? All this while the companies behind the project remain stony silent about actions taken in their name to divide and destroy Broome.

Not a word when last year Aboriginal women and their grandchildren were dragged away by tactical response police to allow the safe passage of Woodside’s contractors down the access road to James Price Point.

Miners hiding behind Barnett’s police army BY:LYNDON SCHNEIDERS . The Australian , May 19, 2012 THIS week the government of Western Australia dispatched about 200 police officers to the sleepy tourist town of Broome to do the dirty work for several of the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

This mini army has been assembled on the doorstep of the Kimberley wilderness for one purpose — to suppress the widespread opposition of the Broome community to the construction of the proposed $40 billion James Price Point industrial precinct.

In a startling admission, WA police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan confirmed earlier this week that the decision to drag police off their beats across the state and send them to Broome would cost taxpayers $100,000 a day, for an undisclosed period and with no cost to the companies involved in the project. The final bill will likely be several million dollars.

All this to move away and silence a dogged and growing band of locals who have stood in the way of the plans of a consortium of the world’s biggest companies, including Shell, Chevron, Woodside, BP and BHP Billiton, to build this massive gas plant in a beautiful and sensitive part of the remote Dampier Peninsula.

For the past four years, community opposition in Broome has grown steadily, uniting the community in a way that has led to Premier Colin Barnett taking this extreme action. Black and white, the overwhelming majority of Broome people have said “no”.

Opinion polling reported in The Australian this week shows 79 per cent of Broome residents oppose the development. Thousands have attended rallies, public meetings and community events over the past year.

At the most recent council elections, two high-profile anti-gas candidates were elected, and one, Anne Polina, is now deputy mayor. On every street corner, there are signs of opposition to the gas plant.

So is this the new Australia, produced by the longest mining boom in our history? One in which the views of residents and traditional owners are meaningless and where the state provides armies of foot soldiers, free of charge, to the big end of town? All this while the companies behind the project remain stony silent about actions taken in their name to divide and destroy Broome.

Not a word when last year Aboriginal women and their grandchildren were dragged away by tactical response police to allow the safe passage of Woodside’s contractors down the access road to James Price Point.

Not a word when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of WA ruled as invalid a clumsy attempt by the Barnett government to compulsorily seize the land for the gas hub from traditional owners.

Not a word when 7000 people gathered on the famous Cable Beach to say no to the gas hub.

And now not a word as Broome is converted into a war zone. All in their name, for their project, for their bottom line. Their silence makes a mockery of their fine statements, their policies and their expensive advertising campaigns that pronounce their credentials as fine corporate citizens who care about communities…… Premier Barnett and his head cheerleader in the federal government, Martin Ferguson, long ago gave up looking like credible representatives of the public interest, and the latest outrage by the WA government is hardly a surprise, given their past form…… http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/miners-hiding-behind-barnetts-police-army/story-e6frg6zo-1226360626360

May 19, 2012 - Posted by | civil liberties, Western Australia |

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