Monday, June 27, 2011

21 Today, Woodside Go Away

The Broome Community NO GAS Campaign in support of the Goolarabooloo Traditional Owners have reached their 21st day of peaceful blockading Manari Road and have so far successfully prevented Woodside's further illegal activities at James Price Point.

It seems like weeks ago when some Broome residents locked on to bulldozers, after the Goolarabooloo watched in horror at the desecration of their ancient ceremonial sites and burial grounds, and theft of sacred cultural objects located within the Songline. There is no State or Federal approval for Woodside to carry out their work, and since 2009, Goolarabooloo Traditional Owners and the wider Broome community have fought to stop the clearing and drilling of sacred land at James Price Point. After establishing a protest camp at James Price Point, they then established a strategic blockade 45 km up the road to prevent any Woodside contractors from using the equipment now parked at the site.

The Manari Rd blockade has around 50 permanent people camping, Aboriginal elders, grey nomads, french backpackers, and film makers from around the world, drink endless cups of tea around the fire (no drugs or alcohol are permitted at the camp). There are waves of people support flowing through and mountains of donations - fresh produce, dried food, baked goods, chocolate and freshly caught fish-pours into the well stocked kitchen every day, as the Broome community show their support for the blockade. The media tent, kitted out with internet and solar power thrums with campaigning activities and at night people gather round the campfires, sharing meals and conversion.

The bulldozer ('Billy the Bilby Basher') lies dormant and the drilling equipment remains idle along the road. Traditional Owners in collaboration with their community of Broome are adamant in their resolve to stop the building of the proposed LNG refineries within their Heritage sites or within our heartlands. All assistance will be gratefully received and welcomed.

In a formal complaint lodged to DIA on 9 June 2011, the principal Aboriginal custodian of James Price Point and Elder for the Goolarabooloo Jabbir-Jabbir people- Mr Joseph Roe-provided detailed photographic and video evidence of significant damage by archaeologists and seismic testers working for Woodside. They have been recklessly damaging burial sites, middens and ancient remnant rain forests and have stolen items of Cultural significance. Over the past week, three DIA Officers guided by traditional custodians spent more than nine hours meticulously taking evidence of significant damage done by Woodside contractors undertaking preliminary work for the doomed gas plant.

“The damage started in early May 2011 and continues to this day”, says Mr Roe. “My most important cultural responsibility as handed down to me from my Lulu (late grandfather) is to look after these sacred sites. They’ve never had vehicles driven over them. The actions of these contractors are a painful reality, disrespectful to our culture and our ancestors.”

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