The much awaited Browse Strategic Assessment was released last Monday, but only one hundred copies were made available for the Broome Community, less than 1% of our community will have access to a hard copy of it. This given situation should not surprise anyone given the stance and indifference shown to our community by the Department of State Development throughout the Strategic Assessment process. Redhand will wait and see if the promised three days Community forum will be undertaken by the DSD in early February 2011. This forum has been suggested by members of the Broome community, in order to assist the community and individuals to understand how to address the report and seek clarifications on a range of concerning environmental, social and heritage issues. As far as the report itself goes there is only one word that really sums it up INSIDIOUS. Redhand will address why insidious in the coming days.
GetUp was in Broome last week and met up with a variety of conservation & Indigenous groups and individuals to discuss their current Anti Compulsory Acquisition campaign. An issue that also drew a lot of attention at the Broome Shire Council’s meeting last week with several people raising their concerns in public question time. The community is very concerned that the Shire has shown a total lack of leadership and guidance in regards to this totally barbaric notion of Compulsory Acquisition being enforced within the Shire boundaries.
The Broome Shire will not be making any objections however, the Kimberley Land Council has submitted an objection to the Department of Regional Development and Planning on Compulsory Acquisition on behalf of Joseph Roe and Mr Cyril Shaw because they are the Registered Native Title Claimants for the Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr Peoples claimant application, being Federal Court proceeding WAD 6002/98. The word on the street and around the tables of senior state bureaucrats is that the Compulsory Acquisitions, Notices of Intention to Take (NOITT) has major holes in it and its basically invalid as well as highly immoral fraudulent.
However, this has not stopped KLC’s TONC members flying up and down to Perth to meet with WA government representatives over the last couple of weeks to negotiate another compensation package for the taking of this land. What’s strange about this is an objection has been lodged by KLC, on behalf of Mr Roe, but they are still making deals behind the backs of the objectors. Now that's what I would call a kick in the guts! A deal has been struck and has already been signed off by TONC, the State Government and Woodside and apparently, an announcement will only be made when its politically advantageous of the above mentioned players. Perfect timing for everyone involved because there will be no media scrutiny about the how’s, where’s or the why’s over the Christmas break.
KLC also released their Indigenous Social Impact Assessments in relation to the proposed world’s largest gas refineries being landed at James Price Point however; they failed to consult with Native Title registered Claimants about any of these reports during the preparation of them. Having read these reports it has become crystal clear to Redhand that most of the information within KLC’s Indigenous Impact reports does not correspond or match up with the: Bradshaw, E and Fry R, 1989 A Management Report for the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, Broome Western Australia. Department of Aboriginal Sites, Western Australia Museum, Perth, May 1989; The Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee findings, The Report by O’Connor and Veth and the Terrex Report undertaken in 1991, “Report of the Ethnographic Survey of Exploration Licence Application written and compiled by a Mr Nicholas Green, who at the time was under the instruction and control of the Kimberley Land Council.
Redhand was around during the time of Terrex fiasco and remembers the feelings felt and the inner joy experienced on seeing all the Senior Law Men sitting in the grounds of the Broome Court House fighting for Country. And I remember their exultation and their jubilation when the Application was rejected on the grounds “that the entire coastal strip has a high density of Aboriginal Archaeological Sites, many of which it assesses to be of great cultural significance”. The Terrex’s sand mining proposal (June 1990) would have cut the Song Cycle Path in half. The Court accepted that the Songline was simply that, a cultural spiritual Songline consisting of interwoven and interconnected sites, a continuum linking the Northern and Southern Law and that it could not be broken.
So what has changed? Sand- mining or gas refineries what’s the difference? Both have the power to desecrate the song, break the line and then we will all lose our emotional wellbeing links that attach us to Country and all her boundless bounties.