A protest against Woodside’s proposed Scarborough gas hub has been called today by Mardudhunera and Nguluma Traditional Owners.

The Save Our Songlines protest will begin at The Quarter, Karratha, at 3pm WA time today (Saturday), and a bus from Roebourne has been organised for attendees.

Save Our Songlines Protest Pamphlet. Photo supplied social media.

Raelene Cooper, Mardudhunera cultural Traditional Owner and a board member of the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, told the National Indigenous Times she was helping to organise the protest because of “alarming, very concerning” information she had uncovered while researching Woodside’s proposed gas hub.

“I sought and studied [this information] through my cultural values as a Traditional Owner. And that information regarding the Scarborough project was quite alarming, it was very concerning,” she said.

“We are opposed to this project. The Mardudhunera people and the people of the Pilbara – nobody really knows what is going on. We have not been consulted properly, the State Government and Woodside are continuing progressing with this, and the information that has come has been inadequate.

“The Mardudhunera people have had enough.”

Cooper acknowledge the already extensive Woodside presence in the region.

“We can’t change what is here already, and Woodside should be satisfied with what they are doing here already, they make $30billion profit a year,” she said.

“We are not being told the truth. This is not just a fight for the Mardudhunera people, this is a fight for everybody. There is a global impact. David Attenborough, he is a brother to our Ngurra [Country]. Listen to what he says about the climate.”

Cooper said the “State Government has a lot to answer for” in regard to procedural fairness.

“20 years ago, our old people signed a document, and they basically put chains around our throats. This is about justice for what happened to our old people, to our Songlines, to our connection to Ngurra,” she said.

“At the end of the day, we have not stopped fighting. The Woodsides of the world, and the governments, are not above the law.”

Cooper said the Save Our Songlines rally was called by “Mother Earth’s Warriors, Mardudhunera and Nguluma Traditional Owners”.

“This fight is everyone’s fight, for our knowledge carriers – our Elders, for everyone.”

According to Western Australian independent clean energy initiative Clean State, the proposed Burrup Hub will generate over six billion tonnes of carbon pollution from gas production, export and combustion overseas over the course of its 50-year proposed life time, equal to 11 times the total current annual emissions for all of Australia.

Clean State reports that the hub “will cause permanent damage to the world’s most extensive collection of Aboriginal rock art, nominated for World Heritage listing on the Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga)”.

“Acid gas emissions from industry are already destroying the rock art and the Burrup hub would make the damage far worse.”

Aa spokesperson for Environment and Climate Action Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson told the National Indigenous Times that the McGowan Government is “committed to ensuring that there is meaningful engagement with Traditional Owners”.

“Traditional owners are always invited to contribute to the independent environmental impact assessment process by the Environmental Protection Authority,” they said.

“In addition, the State Government’s partnership Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and regular consultation with MAC’s traditional owner groups, including the Mardudhunera, will help provide a long-term framework for protecting Murujuga’s rock art, heritage and culture.”

The spokesperson said Government “is committed to transitioning the WA economy to net zero emissions by 2050”.

“In this term, we acted quickly to ban logging in our native forests to protect important carbon sinks and announced a $750 million Climate Action Fund in the State Budget. We are also developing interim targets, sectoral emissions reductions strategies, and consulting on legislation as key priorities.”

She said the Woodside Pluto project was originally approved in 2007 under Ministerial Statement 757 – including the Train 2 development.

“The approval required an update to the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program prior to the commencement of Train 2. This updated GGAP, which now commits the project to delivering a 30 per cent reduction in the original approved emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, was approved by Minister Sanderson earlier this year.”

The spokesperson said the Program introduces “a range of new reporting requirements that will significantly improve the transparency of emissions reporting and the accountability of Woodside to ensure they meet these new targets”.

By Giovanni Torre