Murujuga traditional custodians have pushed be against the federal government’s approval of Woodside’s seismic blasting and drilling for their Burrup Hub project.

On Friday the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) granted approval to Woodside to begin drilling and seismic blasting from Saturday the 2nd of December.

It comes after NOPSEMA’s original approval for the project was overturned in September due to inadequate cultural heritage consultation with custodians.

Now the Authority has approved the project after one meeting with Mardudhunera woman and Murujuga traditional custodian Raelene Cooper.

Ms Cooper has described the consultation as “arrogant, disrespectful and at times, hostile” and had aborted the talks with Woodside in October after the company, shared sensitive cultural matters with other parties.

Woodside’s operations have already significantly damaged ancient rock art in the region with acid dust eroding pieces dating back 40,000 years.

“I am heartbroken, devastated and furious that our governments continue to allow Woodside’s Burrup Hub to destroy our sacred rock art, our songlines and our precious marine sanctuaries,” Ms Cooper said in a statement.

“Our majestic whales carry the stories of our people, carry our songlines from one part of Country to another, they are documented on our munda (our rocks), they are our dreaming stories that I hold.

I have warned previously that the risks and the impacts of such destructive activities will be life threatening for these precious species.”

She says State and Federal governments have ignored the concerns of custodians.

“We have given the information, we have told them our culturally significant sacred stories, and yet still NOPSEMA and the state and federal governments allow for industry to continue their violence, their genocide and to commit murderous actions against First Nations people. 

These destructive atrocities still continue in our nation today and I will continue to call it out. As traditional custodians, our obligation and responsibility is to protect land and sea.

As First Nations people, we are forced to fight to maintain our people’s living culture and the conviction that we hold on behalf of all humanity and all living creatures.

The government has lied to the Australian people and they have lied to the First Nations people of this country.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Sophie McNeill has told the ABC the project’s impact on the environment will be significant.

“Seismic blasting can deafen whales, who use their sonar to find food so a deaf whale is a dead whale.

Woodside’s Burrup Hub is a disaster for WA nature and the climate.

We will keep opposing this project and ensure the world is watching Woodside’s wanton destruction of our environment.”

(AAP Image/Dean Lewins)