So with the Jabirr Jabirr separate Native Title Application to the Native Title Tribunal not being registered, what will be the effect of this decision on the Federal Court hearing involving Joe Roe, that has been played out over the last week in Broome, is anyone’s guess.
Joe Roe is challenging the Kimberley Land Council’s and the new native title claimants from removing him, as the named applicant on the Goolarabooloo/Jabirr Jabirr Title Claim. This was after waiting 16 years for the original Goolarabooloo registered Native Title Claim to be heard.
What is really confusing is why KLC is continuing in their efforts to remove Joe Roe, even when the new applicant was rejected because Joe’s original Goolarabooloo Claim still stands to be addressed. The Federal Court has adjourned until 14th December in Broome and it is expected to hand down the final decision in late January 2011.
For more information about other current court cases in which Joe Roe is fighting for Country go to the following link: http://www.edowa.org.au/_doc/Roe%20Litigation%20Update.pdf
If there is still no determination as to who the rightful Native Title Claimants are, how can the Heads of Agreement, signed by KLC on behalf of Traditional Owners, Woodside and the State Government in April 2009 have any real legal validity?
Surely this must be raising serious doubts and concerns about the legality and potency of this particular document, but also calls into question, any negotiations being held in relation to the Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
An open account should be given, as to who signed away the Cultural Heritage Agreement with Woodside? When was it signed and when will a copy be available to the public? How does this Cultural Heritage Agreement provide protection? KLC, Woodside and the State Government claim Commercial In Confidence on this heritage agreement, and that is why no one has seen a copy of this Aggreement.
Who gave the heritage clearance to undertake the current surveys and the drilling that’s been happening off shore for months and the removal of soils? When these tests started and KLC were stressing the harm to the Good Faith caused by the tests was because there is a requirement under the native title act for 6 months of good faith negotiations after the expiry of the notification of Compulsory Acquisition. But, where are they now, when the trucks and the drilling rigs are pushing into Country?
Last but not least, the accuracy, scope and conclusions of KLC’s Aboriginal Social Impact Assessment (due to be released 9th December) will need to be proved, because it has been reported that KLC during the process of the Assessment did not inform the people with appropriate information, provided inadequate times to respond and were selective in who they approached.
It was reported in last Monday’s West Australian that the Federal Court Justice John Gilmour quizzed Joe’s lawyer as to whether the hearing was going to be a “thoroughly pointless exercise”.
What the talk is on the ground around Broome is how tragic it was to see KLC using women elders of our community, putting them and their health through the stress of being on the witness stand, while KLC hid the truth under their skirts and from the word on the street left them to hang out to dry.
It’s a dirty messy business that is spiritually denigrating and emotionally strenuous and it is being conducted in the heat and sweat of the build up season, the one before the wet, the season that is famous for bringing with it, frayed tempers, exhausted minds and a kind of tropical madness.
While there has been no determination over who can speak for that Country (Native Title Rights), who can provide the clearances? And while everyone is attending the Court hearings ………. Woodside is pushing and pushing their subcontractors (Hostile Environmental Services! and yes that is their real name!) out into Country, provoking the locals, setting up camp in private traditional camping grounds, hiring the Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Corporation’s Dampier Peninsula’s Cultural Tour Bus to sneak into Country, working in disguise, working without proper paperwork, driving over signs (put up to stop people driving on sensitive sites) opening up all the tracks with 4WDs, cutting into the sand dunes, getting bogged and ripping up Country in order to get out.
If this is the extent of damage created by only 3 hire vehicles currently used by Woodside’s security force, what will Country look like after 5000 - 8000 construction workers descend on country with their 1000's of 4WDs, the off-road bikes and of course their hundreds of tinnies? It will be these workers who will have access to our Country and the locals, both on land & sea, will be locked out, unable to access country any further north then Barred Creek, if we are lucky!
Meanwhile, back in Broome, Woodside continues to bribe and buy our small cash strapped community and individuals. They have purchased the services of our very own community grown Olympic and football stars to spread Woodside’s Indigenous employment propaganda. The strategy of hiring the Dampier Peninsula Cultural Tour Bus from Mamabulajin Resource Centre is just plain nauseating. and the strategy of holding invitations (very selected) only dinners for the old families of Broome to lobby for support is such a cheap tragically manipulating maneuver.
KLC turned this Court case into a “thoroughly pointless exercise” and not Joe Roe. These court processes are also a very effective way of distracting people from other issues that plague our community, a way of keeping people out of Country, keeping people tied into a process that will end in tears and start a generational fight and conflict.
But what the Federal Court and most people in Australia who have been following this story is how this whole issue just boils down to who wants the gas and who want to care for country.
Just the talk of this gas has had enormous social, cultural, emotional, physical, spiritual and financial ramifications which is creating a lot of hurt, mistrust and division into a community that not so long ago was receiving National Harmony Awards. The Social Impact Studies have been released as part of the Strategic Assessment. It outlines their predicted impacts, then outlines the mitigating management plan for those impacts and then our community will be abandoned and expected to develop our own strategies that will manage these horrific sickening impacts that will befall our community:
The majority of the people involved in compiling all the sections of the Strategy Assessment are compromised in their reporting and have shown total callous disregard to our communities and the health and well being of our environment. All of them have an invested interest (retaining their employment or securing contracts) in their reporting and their findings because they are either Government Departments’ employees or Woodside’s researchers. The Strategic Assessment Report cannot be objective where the writers are in fact the State Government – the proponent of taking land for the world’s largest LNG processing refineries in conjunction with Woodside the foundation operator.
The communities on the Dampier Peninsula will be left to deal with the social, economic and environmental fallout, they will leave us holding their baby (so to speak), a baby we never asked for, a baby we never wanted.