Trouble in the Kimberley underscores risk for institutional investors

Press release - 15 May, 2012

Sydney 14th May 2012 As tensions escalate around James Price Point, the proposed site of the Woodside gas hub in the Kimberley, Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on the industry super funds to reconsider their exposure to such a high risk project through their investment in the joint venture partners.

This week, the fiercely pro-gas hub Premier, Colin Barnett, approved the deployment of over 150 police officers from Perth to Broome to ensure Woodside gets its heavy earth moving equipment through the community blockade established near James Price Point last year.
A joint venture between Woodside, BHP Billiton, Shell, Chevron and BP is considering building a $30 to $40 billion gas hub on the pristine Kimberley coast, in the middle of a humpback Whale nursery. Industry superannuation funds own some of the largest stakes in all five companies.
“Some of Australia’s largest industry superannuation funds have millions tied up in these five companies,” said Ben Pearson, Head of Program Greenpeace Australia Pacific. “This week’s confrontation is just the most recent in years of protest by the local community and there is no suggestion the community has any intention of ending their protests.”
“We are a calling on the Trustees of these industry funds to review their stake in these companies. It is not in the interests of their members to have their retirement funds tied up in such a controversial and conflict-ridden project.”
“The iconic beauty of the Kimberley coast is not only loved and respected by the Broome community but also by the broader Australian community and the thousands of international visitors who travel across the globe to see its beauty,” said Mr Pearson.
“Shell, BHP Billiton, Chevron and BP all know what it’s like to have their environmental vandalism revealed to their shareholders in the past. If they have learnt anything from their past they must recognise that the community do not want this gas hub and it is time they walk away from James Price Point as the preferred site for their gas hub. If they fail to do so, the industry funds with major stakes in these companies should sell up and invest member’s money in companies that recognise how to manage risk,” said Mr Pearson.
“Quite simply when companies need a couple of hundred police and their own security force just to move equipment around, it does suggest the community has withdrawn its license to operate,” concluded Mr Pearson.
For further comment contact:
Media Officer:
Julie Macken 0400 925 217
Head of Program:
Ben Pearson 0424 575 111