West Australian Development Minister Eric Ripper said the taskforce’s primary focus would be to identify suitable locations for at least one gas processing complex that would be used to handle gas from several fields.
“The establishment of one or more locations will mean companies will use the same location for their processing facilities,” Ripper said.
“It also ensures companies process their gas locally, giving the Kimberley community direct benefits from the projects through jobs and business.”
The move follows a decision by Japan’s Inpex and the Kimberley Land Council to start negotiations over a $10 billion LNG project in the region.
Woodside Petroleum is keen to develop its Browse Basin fields, but has recently suggested piping the gas 900 kilometres onshore rather than building a plant in the environmentally sensitive region.
“There are several major investors who are proceeding with proposals for gas developments off the Kimberley coast and the State Government is committed to ensuring this is done in an acceptable manner,” Ripper said.
He said indigenous communities would be consulted.
“This will be done in a way that ensures meaningful engagement of indigenous people in the region,” he said in a statement.
“We will resolve native title issues as a part of the process and we aim to locate any hub on land where tenure has passed to the traditional owners and is subsequently leased back to the state,” he said.
The taskforce will comprise senior staff from five departments, including the Department of Industry and Resources, the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Indigenous Affairs.