BHP angers Abo­rig­i­nal group

Pilbara News - - PILBARA NEWS - Brad Thomp­son

BHP Bil­li­ton has an­gered tra­di­tional landown­ers in the Pil­bara by sell­ing a pas­toral lease to the owner and op­er­a­tor of the Dampier-to-Bun­bury nat­u­ral gas pipeline.

The Bu­ura­bal­ayji Tha­lanyji Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion said it had wanted to buy Urala Sta­tion on the coast near Onslow to pro­duce cat­tle and cre­ate em­ploy­ment and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for more than 30 peo­ple.

BTAC chairman Matthew Slack said tra­di­tional own­ers had been shut out of the sale de­spite BHP Petroleum be­ing aware of their long-stand­ing am­bi­tion to use Urala for pas­toral­ism.

BHP sold the sta­tion and as­so­ci­ated lease to DBP De­vel­op­ment Group in a deal be­lieved to be worth $2.1 mil­lion.

Mr Slack said the State Gov­ern­ment ap­proved the sale in April, but BHP did not no­tify the BTAC un­til last month.

“It was our un­der­stand­ing BHP would give Tha­lanyji the first right of re­fusal, the op­por­tu­nity to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an of­fer to pur­chase,” he said.

BHP said the com­pany had en­joyed a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Tha­lanyji peo­ple and hoped it would con­tinue.

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