Traditional owners angry over mine closure

Posted February 14th, 2019 by admin and filed in 杭州夜生活
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Indigenous traditional owners in the Top End are disappointed that the collapse of two mines have taken with them hopes for economic development.


The Western Desert Resources mine and the Sherwin Iron mine both went into receivership last year.

Northern Land Council CEO Joe Morrison says Aboriginal people counting on them for work have been left frustrated.

“People embraced those mines on the basis that there was going to be employment, and Western Desert did in fact employ a lot of Aboriginal people and we applaud them for that,” he told AAP on Friday.

“But it didn’t realise its full potential and didn’t pay any benefits to traditional owners.

“So the potential for those mines to become an environmental and cultural legacy for people now to deal with is foremost on people’s minds.”

Mr Morrison said that in a suppressed commodity price environment it was highly unlikely other operators would be found to take over those mines.

He said they highlighted the importance of careful planning for northern development.

“How much can the residents of northern Australia put up with this kind of development is the question we need to ask ourselves as a nation, because we don’t want to end up with just holes in the ground … but we do want development,” he said.

Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory are primary landowners of 50 per cent of the jurisdiction and hold native title claims to most of the rest.

Mr Morrison said they and their unique perspectives should therefore be front and centre of any plans for development.

“We desperately hope (the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia) broadens the horizons about the north in terms of what it is currently and what it should be,” he said.

“It should be a place of enormous pride for the country in the future that the north is developed in a way that sustains the people as well as generates economic and employment opportunities.

“We can’t just think about this as economic transactions. We must think about them as the kinds of developments that support people’s culture and their longstanding traditions.”

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