Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Traditional Owners tell State to ‘back-off’ from threat to forcibly remove them from their lands at James Price Point the Kimberley


Media Release
November 29th, 2011
Traditional Owners have hit back at WA’s Department of State Development and have said they are being disrespectful and paternalistic in their attempt to remove people from a traditional Aboriginal campground near James Price Point, Broome.

Traditional Owner and Goolarabooloo Law Boss Phillip Roe said: “The State needs to back off. This is like stepping back into the 19th century when people were forcibly removed from their land. We have a right under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which Australia has signed, to carry out our cultural practices and protect our country.”

Today Gail McGowan from the DSD and Broome Police Superintendent Mick Sutherland threatened to shut down the Walmadan campground as it may be dangerous during cyclone season, and that it is ‘illegal for people to live there”
ABC Kimberley WA - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Walmadan campers have developed a cyclone plan with advice from FESA, including 3 evacuation options, and have downsized the camp significantly.

Walmadan is one of many ancient Aboriginal campsites along the Dampier Peninsula, and is an important site along the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, a reconciliation walk the Goolarabooloo community developed in conjunction with the WA Heritage Council in 1988. It is also the site of the Walmadan Tent Embassy. Phillip Roe, along with other family members, has invited people, many of whom support the Goolarabooloo/JabbirJabbir in their fight against the proposed Browse LNG precinct, to stay at the camp. “Over the past 25 years we have invited people to come and stay with us in our country and learn about our cultural heritage and practices” Phillip said.

Mr. Roe feels the DSD has displayed a lack of cultural respect by threatening to close the camps without properly discussing their issues with him and his community. ‘Our community, the Goolarabooloo, has survived cyclones for tens of thousands of years, and we are very confident we still can. Why are they making an uproar about this camp suddenly? It’s obviously a political move to shut down our community’s opposition to the Browse LNG Precinct”

(Photo: Rod Harvigsen) Traditional Owner Phillip Roe with Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke at Walmadan in August 2011

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