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'Abuse of power': claims regulation changed to thwart Browse legal bid

Tue June 26, 2012 3:55pm

The lawyer behind a Supreme Court challenge to the validity of Woodside Petroleum's approvals for early works at James Price Point claims the West Australian Planning Minister today amended regulations to allow the works to continue even if the approvals are invalid.

The lawyer behind a Supreme Court challenge to the validity of Woodside Petroleum's approvals for early works at James Price Point has claimed the West Australian Planning Minister today amended regulations to allow the works to continue even if the approvals are invalid.

Goolarabooloo man Richard Hunter was due to have his matter heard in the WA Court of Appeal next week but his lawyer, Environmental Defender's Office principal solicitor Josie Walker, said Planning Minister John Day used the state's planning legislation to undermine the action before it reached the court.

Mr Day has confirmed he amended the planning regulations for the Broome greater area.

The changes mean Woodside can operate even if the approvals at James Price Point are deemed invalid by the courts next week.

Mr Hunter is considering whether to challenge the regulation amendment and if to go ahead with having his case heard next week, Ms Walker said.

Woodside, the operator of the $35 billion Browse liquefied natural gas project proposed for the James Price Point site, opted to become a party to the action when it was launched last month.

Mr Day was invited to be a party in the proceedings originally launched against the Shire of Broome and the Kimberley Joint Development Assessment Panel from the outset in May, but had only chosen to be a party earlier this month.

Ms Walker has argued approvals granted to Woodside in February were invalid because the KDAP had made a decision without receiving an official report from the Shire of Broome.

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