No welcome for Chevron

CHRIS LEESPilbara News

The momentous groundbreaking ceremony at Chevron’s Wheatstone Project in Onslow was marred by the refusal of the native title holders, the Thalanyji people, to provide a welcome to country.

Held at the Ashburton North site, the ceremony marked the start of construction of the $29 billion project. Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation chairman Rodney Hicks said the timing of the ceremony was “an insult to the Thalanyji people’s elders”.

He said it would only inflame relations between the native title holders and Chevron because of unfinished and outstanding heritage issues surrounding the project.

“Chevron has failed in its duty of care to consult with the Thalanyji people as to who are the appropriate elders to represent Thalanyji,” he said.

A Chevron spokesman said the company was disappointed and regretted the Thalanyji people’s decision not to attend the ceremony. “We value the Thalanyji people’s support and co-operation and will continue to discuss any outstanding issues that may be concerning them,” he said.

Wheatstone will have two LNG trains with a capacity of 8.9 million tonnes per year and a domestic gas plant forecasted to create more than 6500 direct and indirect jobs during peak construction.

WA Premier Colin Barnett attended the ceremony on December 1 and said the project would create enormous employment and industry opportunities for WA and would transform Onslow.

“The construction of a $1.2billion domestic gas plant to feed 15 per cent of the gas from the Wheatstone operations into the State’s energy market is also a very important component of the overall project,” he said.

“This helps ensure a safe, secure and reliable supply of gas to meet the State’s energy requirements into the future.”

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