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Initial work at the Chevron-led Gorgon gas project could begin before Christmas if final investment is approved by the three joint venture partners.

The proposed development, which was given final environmental approval today, will create as many as 10,000 jobs at its peak and underpin a major expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production across Australia.

Chevron greater Gorgon area general manager Colin Beckett said a few other formal approvals were needed before a final investment decision was made.

He said he did not want to pre-empt the decision, which should be made “fairly soon”.

But Chevron was committed to the project, he said.

“We now need to just turn our attention to finalising a few other formal approvals which will be of much lower profile,” Mr Beckett said.

Once those are out of the way we will be able to finalise our final investment decision.”

Mr Beckett said that once a decision had been made the next step would be to place purchase orders and contracts for project construction.

He said the company had already committed to $2 billion of contracts.

“By Christmas we would be starting to do some of the initial work on Barrow Island while in other places we complete our design and get on with the procurement activity,” he said.

“So we’ll be making early strides there and by the end of next year we’ll be working pretty flat out on Barrow Island itself.”

Accommodation for 3,300 fly-in, fly-out workers will be included in the construction phase, which is expected to create 7,000 jobs for people working on the project and a further 3,000 in spin-off employment.

Mr Beckett said the project would draw labour from across Australia.

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Prominent real estate agent Michael McKenna and a Dianella settlement agent are among those who have been sentenced following an investigation into the bribing of Landgate officers.

Between them, four men were convicted of nine counts of bribery and fined $65,000.  bribes

In the District Court in Perth yesterday, Judge Kevin Sleight heard settlement agent Gordon Andrew Poulton, 66, committed two counts of bribery by placing $1000 of gift vouchers into two envelopes and addressing them to Landgate supervisors.

Judge Sleight called Poulton’s efforts “abhorrent to our system” and fined him $10,000.

McKenna received a $20,000 fine and 12 month community based order, including 80 hours of community service work, after being convicted of three counts of bribery, while another man, whose name was suppressed, was fined $10,000 for one count of bribery.

Ian Croasdale, a former Landgate officer and self-confessed impersonator of television star Kenny, was earlier fined $25,000 and received a sentence for accepting three $500 bribes.

Croasdale was a qualified cartographer who had been employed by Landgate for 31 years until the Corruption and Crime Commission brought the bribery allegations.

www.watoday.com.au

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