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Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1589      April 17, 2013

MUA calls on Woodside to reject “dud” offshore processing option

Woodside Petroleum’s exploration into an offshore floating liquefied natural gas facility for their Browse project is a dud option that should be rejected as soon as possible, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

It follows Woodside’s announcement to the ASX that the James Point Price option was not commercially viable but that it would continue to explore options with its joint venture partners, including another onshore site or the possibility of processing the LNG offshore.

“Aside from the thousands of jobs that Australians would miss out on, the offshore option would also create the potential for environmental armageddon in the event of a leak or explosion,” MUA deputy national secretary Mick Doleman said.

“This new technology that Shell is trying to foist on the joint venture is untried and untested and could be catastrophic if something goes, such as a cyclone or a tsunami, particularly as it wouldn’t be crewed by professional seafarers with high-level safety qualifications.

“It’s not just workers that have a problem with offshoring – both the Coalition and Labor Parties in WA oppose the idea on the legitimate grounds that it would be a bad move economically for the state.”

MUA WA branch secretary Chris Cain said the MUA is concerned that Woodside’s announcement was designed as a political measure to pressure politicians into backing the company’s plans.

“We genuinely hope that Woodside is not trying to use blackmail to pressure politicians to abandon their opposition to offshore LNG processing,” Mr Cain said.

“Any move to offshore the processing will be bitterly fought by unions, politicians and the community.

“It is the community that will suffer most from this proposal, as they will miss out on the benefits of royalties that are invested in essential infrastructure, as well as possibly seeing their gas prices affected.

“Locating a facility 200 kilometres offshore would cut out local workers, cut out local content, and cut out local laws. We’re not having a bar of it,” Mr Cain said.   

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