We understand the importance of identifying and working with those who have longstanding cultural and spiritual connections to land and waters where we have a presence.We demonstrate respect and act with integrity to improve economic, social and cultural outcomes for Indigenous people. We also recognise that Indigenous people have knowledge, skills and connections that can help us on our journey to becoming a global leader in upstream oil and gas.
In Australia, we maintain relationships with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara, Kimberley and South West regions. We acknowledge the unique and continuing connections of Ngarluma, Yawuru and Whadjuk people to land, waters and community.
About cultural heritage on the Burrup Peninsula and surrounding waters
The Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) is unique worldwide for its collection of petroglyphs—engravings that have been hammered, rubbed or scratched into the rocks. Although only a fraction of these engravings have been recorded, it is commonly estimated over a million petroglyphs can be found throughout the archipelago, providing a record of traditional use of the area covering tens of thousands of years.
Aboriginal people have a strong ongoing association with the North-West Marine Region, and we recognise the ongoing interests of Traditional Owners in the waters offshore from the Burrup. We also recognise that prior to a rise in sea levels land including the islands of the Dampier Archipelago and beyond would have been connected to mainland Australia and occupied by Aboriginal people.
Woodside has successfully operated our LNG facilities on the Peninsula for more than 30 years and we are proud of the relationships we have built with Traditional Owners over this time. We are committed to preserving the petroglyphs as well as the intangible values captured in traditional stories, customs and knowledge.
Protection of petroglyphys and cultural heritage management is integral to our operations and factored into the planning of our growth projects. The upcoming growth projects, collectively known as the ‘Burrup Hub’, have been designed to avoid any direct impact on rock art. Any indirect impacts, including the effects of dust and vibration, are carefully managed at each stage of the project.
We undertake cultural heritage management through many methods, incorporating sound practices informed by science, supporting the ambitions of Traditional Owners, including the World Heritage Listing of the Burrup Peninsula, committing over $30 million to heritage, cultural and arts projects in the region to protect and promote rock art under the Burrup Conservation Agreement, and assuring Traditional Owners can maintain access to country and pass on knowledge to future generations.
Woodside recognises some anecdotal evidence and stakeholder concerns have been raised regarding observable changes to rock art. To understand and manage Murujuga Rock Art into the future, Woodside supports the implementation of the State’s Murujuga Rock Art Strategy, Framework and Monitoring Program. This approach is expected to remove much of the uncertainty surrounding potential pathways linking industrial emissions and accelerated weathering, and will allow for timely investigation and management where required.
Woodside has held discussions with Traditional Owners about the potential impacts of offshore developments on heritage and traditional interests and sought the advice of heritage experts currently investigating the potential for submerged heritage on the North West Shelf. Feedback provided during consultation with Traditional Owners and heritage experts was considered when developing recommendations regarding the management of submerged cultural heritage.
Modelling of continental shelf development in the Dampier Archipelago has been undertaken in an effort to assess and define the potential for preservation of submerged material which may contain preserved archaeological deposits.
This research concluded that submerged heritage has the greatest probability of surviving nearshore. Woodside’s only nearshore development, the Scarborough landing site and nearshore footprint, will utilise previously dredged and disturbed land to avoid the likelihood of encountering any submerged heritage.