Re: [mammals-aus] Barrow Island Development

Subject: Re: [mammals-aus] Barrow Island Development
From: "Frank O'Connor" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 12:09:36 +0800
At 03:16 09/09/2003 +0000, Colonel 007 wrote:
As many of you would know, Barrow Island is probably one of Australias most
significant reserves. What many of you may not be aware of is that there is
a proposal for developing a large section of the island (300ha) for a Gas
refinery plant and shipping port.

I have been watching it rather closely and have discovered that the WA state
government has put its support behind the project...despite contrary advice
from its own conservation agencies.

The WA Government has only given "in principle support". This is the first stage of a long process. There was no contrary advice from the conservation agency as it doesn't apply at this stage. Environmental and final government approval is still down the track. The project is not scheduled to be given the final go ahead until late 2005, and to commence production in 2008.

I have been (October 2000) on a Landscope trip which stopped overnight at Barrow Island. We set Elliott and cage traps, and it was phenonemal how many animals that we caught. Golden Bandicoot, Boodie, Western Chestnut Mouse, Common Brushtail Possum, Pseudantechinis roryi, etc.

Barrow Island is an extensive working oil field! The company has gone to great lengths to ensure quarantine on all deliveries to the island. e.g. barge, planes, etc. This is to prevent the introduction of rats, cats, etc. There are already House Mouse there.

So in an ideal world, you would hope that the gas processing plant would not be on Barrow Island. But it is by the same company (as part of a joint venture?) that already operates there with minimal impact. So maybe there will be no adverse environmental affects on the mammals from the new project? It will certainly affect a far smaller area than the oil field.

This project will go ahead. It is too big to stop. The main argument has been where to locate the gas processing plant. The company's argument seems to be that it must be on Barrow Island. Something to do with CO2 sequestration. I heard something about pumping CO2 back into the gas field (or maybe the oil field?). This will make the project Greenhouse Gas neutral. I don't know enough about how this works.

If the gas processing plant does eventually get the go ahead to be on Barrow Island (which at this stage seems to be the most likely outcome), then maybe a lot of the lobbying should go towards ensuring that a significant amount the royalties should go towards projects to restore native mammals to their former ranges. There are many such projects already at a stage to achieve this in WA. Western Shield. Cat eradication baiting. Island relocations. Mainland restoration of mammals to Gibson Desert, Lorna Glen Station, south west, etc.

Certainly keep pressure on the company, WA Government and Commonwealth Government. This will ensure that the strictest environmental conditions are maintained. It will also help to see that some of the funds will be used for the environment.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694              Email : 

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