Posts Tagged ‘Australia’


Supporting Sustainable Development

The impending closure of Alinta Energy’s Leigh Creek Mine and two associated power stations will eliminate many jobs and services in the remote Aboriginal community of Nepabunna, South Australia. Residents are concerned, but optimistic that their town will survive the economic downturn. Discussions are taking place with government officials about small business development and other employment alternatives.

A company’s social investment strategy should include the goal of long term financial stability. Every project will eventually come to an end, but steps can be taken to mitigate the “boom and bust” effect that often characterizes development in rural areas. When a company departs from a community, residents should be collectively better off than they were when the project began.

Source: ABC



#SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA: Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities

By: Sam Cook, a Blaktivist of the Nyikina Nation, from the Kimberley Region of Western Australia

In the early hours of “Black Friday,” March 13, 2015, growing frustrations in the Aboriginal community
had reached a pressure point. After the repeated failure of successive governments to honor Australia’s First Nations at the most basic levels, the perfect storm was brewing. Compounding this, the global lurch to the right under the guise of “austerity” had seemingly become a code-switch of government to normalize racism, bigotry, oppression, and genocide.

Since the appointment of Tony Abbott as Australia’s 28th prime minister in 2013, a cauldron of dissent has manifested across Australia. Labeled “One-Term Tony,” he has become world renowned for an ever-growing list of contentious and inappropriate comments. His unabashed concessions for min- ing alongside corporate interests are rampant, all the while sidestepping the clarification of his citizenship, which would determine whether he is indeed legal to hold office in the first place. The self-appointed Minister for Women’s Interests and self-declared Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs’ latest blunder was a denigrating remark toward Aboriginal people living on their traditional lands, which he referred to as a “lifestyle choice.” The remark was made on a surprise visit to
a mining stronghold in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Maduwangka people, now forever scarred by the “Super-pit:” a viciously gorged open-cut gold mine approximately 3.6 km long, 1.6 km wide, and 512 meters deep. Such flippant disregard toward Aboriginal culture was the tinder needed to polarize a nation.

Abbott’s comment was in support of a position declared by the Western Australian State Premier Colin Barnett, who on November 12, 2014, announced that he would close up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities, saying the state could no longer afford to pay for essential services like electricity.

The premier’s comments were in response to the federal government’s decision to stop subsidizing these services in the middle of 2015, putting the financial responsibility on individual state governments. In direct response to this,
the website was established and launched via social media, calling for Aboriginal communities to register their needs and for individuals to offer skills that could aid the community.

On the late evening of Thursday, March 12, a conversation thread on Facebook began among Darangah Nagarra Torres, Janine Dureau, Annette Kogolo, and Nelson Kurni Bieundurry with the view to holding a rally the following week, March 19, to coincide with Australia’s Closing the Gap Day—a govern- ment initiative claiming to deliver sound service and results for Aboriginal participation into the broader Australian
social fabric. Over the course of the evening the thread gained momentum, as Ngigjingah Maryanne Skeen, Janella Isaac, Kelly Kitching, Jodie Bell, Kankawa Nagarra Knight, Lyn Shaw, Layangali Bieundurry, Lillian Chestnut, Jamie Davidson, Darren Mitchelson, Tjapanangka Paylrntarri, Nawoola Miri- woong, Ebony Hill, Venessa Poelina, Anne Poelina, Johannah Kitching, Danny Teece Johnson, and myself had joined the discussion. By 2:00 a.m. on Friday, the Facebook page “Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities” was created. It was hoped that by the morning there would be close to 1,000 “likes.” A mere 7 hours later, over 2,000 people had “liked” the page. It spoke loudly to those involved, affirming that Australians from all over the country were fed up with our government.

The exponential growth continued; 5 days later every
state and territory had mobilized, with 30 known community rallies of up to 30,000 people marching in the streets from the most remote Aboriginal communities, small regional towns, major cities, and the capitals of Australia. A virtual protest raged online, with international celebrity endorsements coming from Bianca Jagger, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Talib Kweli, Michael Franti, and Spearhead, among others. Our Aboriginal Australian and Australian artists and athletes stood solid in their support with major statements made at their various events and public platforms. The artistic response started to take shape with artwork, songs, poems, writings, and street art campaigns underpinning a cultural revolution. Importantly, there has been a reconnection with the Aboriginal rights movement and key activists in the United States (including the American Indian Movement), Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand, with a powerful outpouring of sup- port from all levels of Māori Iwi (people) who are strong in their public stance. This is of historical significance, as there are over 70 years of deep links forged between our civil rights and black rights movements. In the 21st century this is now being redefined, re-awakened, and garnering further strength.

In 30 days, “SOS BLAK AUSTRALIA, Stop the Forced Closures of Aboriginal Communities” created a social media platform with a reach almost the size of Perth, the fourth capital city in Australia. Subsequent local community actions have continued across the country in smaller regional and remote centers alongside individuals who contribute daily their personal messages in the virtual protest. On April 10, the cities of Melbourne and Sydney shut down to hold rallies, sit-ins, and cultural celebrations, showing how strong the Aboriginal continuum is in contemporary times. The following day, April 11, the mainstream Herald Sun, which has largely ignored the efforts, ran a headline concerning the actions in Melbourne, “Selfish Rabble Shut City.” Rather
than be agitated by this, the community fought back online, initiating#SelfishRabble on Twitter. In less than one hour, it had trended to number one on the Australian Twitter feed, beating the Australian Football League, National Rugby League, and Coachella.

The second Global Call to Action took place May 1, 2015. The event has made important and historical links to the union movements across Australia, which have come out in support and publicly stated they will defend the rights of Aboriginal people. As of this writing, there were approximately 98 known actions planned across Australia and internationally. Actions involved remote Aboriginal Communities alongside towns and major cities in all States and Territories, as well as Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, France, Brazil, the Philip- pines, and Aotearoa New Zealand. This has defied the combined imagination of the Aboriginal community roots who had come together just over a month prior. It is clear that there is a bigger responsibility to maintain and grow unity, being mindful that the obligation to our future leaders and elders is paramount to our peaceful actions.

At the back end, the plan goes far beyond calls to action. What has been at the heart of SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA is a humanitarian effort we are aiming to drive alongside the communities. It is our plan to make all of our communities sustainable through alternative power, water, and waste solutions, as well as to repair years of neglected infrastructure. This is in line with our sovereignty, and we have individuals in the community already looking into the potential to file a class action on behalf of our Aboriginal Nations against the state and federal governments. Our communities have issued a vote of no confidence in both state and federal governments, and we are all aware that this is an epoch of upheaval as the ongoing attack by the incumbent government has resulted

in the defunding of significant organizations that are the life- blood for our people. Yet we remain firm in our resolve and strong in our commitment to continue for as long as it takes to shift this supremacy regime off the backs of our people. We will stand against the great land grab for our mineral-rich country that underlies the government’s attempts to remove Aboriginal people from our traditional homelands. We shall overcome.

—Sam Cook is a Blaktivist of the Nyikina Nation from the Kimberley Region of Western Australia



Connecting Indigenous Suppliers to Big Business Opportunities: The Mission of Supply Nation

By: Hannah Stack  | First Peoples Worldwide Communications Correspondent

Entering the business world can prove a difficult endeavor for any company, but many Native-owned businesses have specific challenges in the start-up stages. For many Indigenous businesses looking to enter into the market, this level of difficulty proves real and they fail in the first year. Indeed, many companies with roots in Indigenous communities find themselves at a great disadvantage due to groundless preconceptions and crippling discrimination. Moreover, due to their often rural locale and shortage of available capital, many businesses find themselves laboriously straining to not only establish their enterprises, but also to connect with important investors and buyers. These factors combine and impact even established businesses that find they are often fated to endure great disadvantage as they are hard-pressed to have their goods and services scale up to enter the larger marketplace.

Many members of the Aboriginal groups in Australia have experienced this hardship firsthand. As business manager Mundanara Bayles told the Australian Financial Review, “We can’t just walk into a room and start doing business or compete for a tender with 50 other businesses, because of preconceptions about us.” In her interview, Bayles further highlighted the difficulties she endured during the two-year process of procuring her first business contract and in the time since then. A particular struggle came in the form of attracting large corporations to consider a supply deal with her business BlackCard. As her establishment was based in a rural region, few large corporations chose to even acknowledge it.

While Australia has come a long way with efforts to better incorporate minorities, like Native people, into the larger business world (certain measures for Indigenous commercial integration have already been taken via the National Partnership Agreement of Indigenous Economic Participation and the Indigenous Opportunities Policy), there is much that can still be done. In one effort to do so, the Australian government has offered funding to Supply Nation, a not-for-profit organization designed to incorporate greater diversity into the Australian supply chain.

Supply Nation

Founded in 2009, Supply Nation is structured as a membership body that looks to connect Indigenous-owned businesses to larger corporate and government organizations throughout Australia. Through the use of business-to-business connections, a recognized certification process, and various education and networking programs, Supply Nation aims to level the playing field between Indigenous minority companies and other businesses. Ultimately, the organization hopes to enable the formation of “a prosperous, vibrant and sustainable Indigenous enterprise sector.”


The efficacy of the Supply Nation business integration model relies heavily on two principal groups: members and suppliers. The member group consists of a number of large corporations and government agencies, who choose to join Supply Nation in order to access its substantial database of “suppliers”, the Indigenous-owned companies that have been granted certification by Supply Nation. While it may not initially be apparent what these large organizations gain from membership, a closer look reveals that, through their access to the database, these member organizations can connect with Indigenous businesses that are highly competent but, in other circumstances, would be difficult to locate. Additionally, by engaging with these minority suppliers, the large corporations and agencies are able to meet the requirements set forth by the Indigenous Opportunities Policy and also prove to their clientele that they possess a willingness to contribute to the greater community.

On the supplier side, Supply Nation’s program is beneficial on a number of levels. As the entire organization is envisioned as a way to give Indigenous-run corporations an equal opportunity in the business world, the model itself focuses fundamentally on facilitating a path to corporate integration. The model includes networking events, public advocacy, and research efforts that benefit the suppliers by encouraging the larger corporations to pursue new partnerships with them. Additionally, through Supply Nation’s certification process, certified suppliers are able to verify their credentials to potential buyers, allowing the minority-run businesses to better compete with other larger companies. Through these methods, the suppliers are able to accelerate their interactions with the buying members.

Looking Forward

Overall, Supply Nation seems to be a step in the right direction. Although its full certification designation is only offered to established business with a minimum revenue of $50,000, its “Emerging Supplier” certification allows even new businesses in start-up mode to benefit from the program. And because of the advocacy work Supply Nation does on behalf of all Indigenous businesses, the organization proves valuable to the Indigenous community as a whole. While the program undoubtedly has a difficult path in front of it, its current attempts at capitalistic integration seem to be a beacon of light to the greater Indigenous community.

The United States Government could learn from the lessons here in the implementation of the Buy Indian Act that would empower Native-owned businesses in the U.S. Please look for an upcoming blog post on how…Untitled


Papadakis, Marianna. “Indigenous Businesses Go for Investment with Supply Nation.” Financial Review. N.p., 25 May 2015. Web. 05 June 2015. <>.

Supply Nation Is Supported By The Australian. “Annual Report 2014.” Supply Nation. Web. <>.

“Supply Nation.” Supply Nation – Direct B2B Purchasing Link between Corporate & Government Australia and Indigenous Owned Businesses. <>


Cultural Survival Launches New Indigenous Rights Radio Website!



Cultural Survival Launches New Indigenous Rights Radio Website!
Indigenous Rights Radio uses the power of community radio to inform Indigenous communities of their rights. We envision a world in which Indigenous communities, equipped with knowledge of their rights, are empowered to protect their lands, languages, and cultures.
Cultural Survival’s Indigenous radio producers gather stories from Indigenous Peoples around the world. In English, Spanish, and a growing array of Indigenous languages, we bring the voices of the Native peoples of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas into dynamic dialogue about the meaning of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, their common struggles, and their evolving and innovative solutions to the problems they face today.

Source: Cultural Survival


FPIC Test in Australia

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In March 2015, the Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples formally rejected a land use agreement that would enable Adani Mining to develop one of Australia’s largest coal mines on their territories in Queensland. The company is asking the National Native Title Tribunal to override the communities’ decision. It alleges that the opposition comes from individuals who “are not authorized to speak on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou” and intends to “continue to negotiate with the Wangan and Jagalingou’s authorized representatives towards terms acceptable to all parties.”

Even though the Wangan and Jagalingou’s application for native title is still under review, companies are required to negotiate with them until a land use agreement is reached. However, whether the communities have the right to give a finite no is less clear. This will be an important test of Australia’s commitments to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Sources: The Guardian

This post is excerpted from First Peoples Worldwide’s Corporate Monitor, a monthly report on key trends affecting companies interacting with Indigenous Peoples. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.


Keeping Tabs on Country Risk

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In 2014, the Western Australian government announced that up to 150 of the state’s remote Aboriginal communities might be closed because their “lifestyle choices” are not financially viable. The announcement met strong criticism from Aboriginal leaders, who fear that the government will begin eliminating basic services, such as electricity and water, for these communities, forcing them to abandon their traditional land.

Meanwhile, Aboriginal leaders in Canada are protesting a proposed “antiterrorism” bill that would make it easier for the government to conduct surveillance and restrict the movement of suspected terrorists. It is widely believed that the bill is really about suppressing Aboriginal resistance to unwanted resource extraction.

It’s important for companies to keep tabs on events like these in countries where they operate, even if they’re not directly involved. Poor relations between Indigenous Peoples and governments almost always add a layer of difficulty to corporate engagement with Indigenous communities.

The closure of the Oombulgurri community in Western Australia has left it a ghost town [photo credit:]

The closure of the Oombulgurri community in Western Australia has left it a ghost town [photo credit:]

Sources: BBC, National Post

This post is excerpted from First Peoples Worldwide’s Corporate Monitor, a monthly report on key trends affecting companies interacting with Indigenous Peoples. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.


Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership: What It Means for Indigenous Peoples

This article has been reposted from Cultural Survival, originally published April 13, 2015.



The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a massive, controversial free trade agreement currently under negotiation behind closed doors by officials from the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The TPP would elevate multinational corporations and private investors to equal status with sovereign nations, and therefore above individual citizens, empowering these entities to sue nations via private tribunals.  The TPP has been marked by an alarming lack of transparency and public input. The public has not been allowed to see the draft text, and the majority of information that is available is the result of leaks. Even members of Congress have been provided only limited access to the proposed agreement. US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has called for increased transparency in trade negotiations for the TPP, warning that, “Without transparency, the benefit from robust democratic participation—an open marketplace of ideas—is considerably reduced.” Meanwhile, more than 600 official corporate “trade advisors” have been given special access to the draft text.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: What Does It Mean for Indigenous Peoples?

In the same vein as deals like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, the TPP is being drafted with no input from the Indigenous Peoples who live in countries that will be affected by the deal. The TPP could have broad implications for Indigenous Peoples living in the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The secrecy of the TPP entirely disregards the concept of Free, Prior, Informed Consent, a tenant of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states that policies affecting Indigenous Peoples should not move forward without the full understanding and approval of those it might affect.


Corporate Rights over Human Rights

The agreement threatens to dramatically affect Indigenous Peoples by ramping up trade policies that have allowed for transnational corporations to engage in oil, gas, and mineral extraction without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of their communities.  TPP policies would encourage the natural gas industry, which has already severely affected Native and First Nations communities in North America.  “The TPP would facilitate increased exports of liquefied natural gas by requiring the U.S. Department of Energy to automatically approve all natural gas exports to TPP countries. Increased exports would mean an increase in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the dirty and violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations,’’ explains the Sierra Club.  Natural gas companies have already begun encroaching otherwise off limits native lands. Uniquely affecting native women, fracking operations tend to be correlated with increased sex trafficking, rape, missing women, and influxes of drugs and alcohol into communities, in addition to its obvious environmental effects contaminating local water and air quality.

The TPP would also allow companies to evade financial responsibility for environmental contamination, even when it occurs on Indigenous Peoples lands. Under the TPP, investors would have the ability to demand taxpayer compensation for imposed fines, effectively burdening the public with the cost of environmental cleanup. According to Professor Jane Kelsey of New Zealand, the TPP draft chapter on environmental regulations fails to define its key terms, leaving vagueness that will allow for inconsistent interpretation and implementation of regulations. Nowhere in the chapter does it detail a mechanism for setting penalties for environmental offenders. It excludes resource management practices and ignores standards set by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mother Nature®

The draft article on Trade and Biodiversity recognizes the rights of states over natural resources and genetic material. This would allow for multinational corporations like Monsanto and industries like Big Pharma to benefit enormously by allowing them to exclusive rights over things like seeds and traditional plant-based medicines found in biodiverse areas managed by Indigenous communities. The agreement flagrantly ignores the United Nations’ specific mention of this in the Declaration, which states that

“Indigenous Peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop…the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora.” –Article 31

The patenting of plants that have been used traditionally by Indigenous Peoples without their consent or benefit sharing has been called bio-piracy, and would snowball given the approval of the TPP.  Indigenous activist Te Kaituhi, a Māori of Aotearoa New Zealand, exhorts us to “Imagine a world where Indigenous knowledge, language, and customs are outright owned by multinational corporations and copyright enforcement is heavily backed by government police forces.” According to Kaituhi, “The TPP won’t only affect Indigenous freehold land, nor will it just push our people further into poverty. The TPP will give multinationals the right to exploit the ecosystem and further aid them in the acquiring of enforced trademarking and copyrighting of Indigenous intellectual property and cultural or traditional knowledge;” in other words, a new form of colonization.


Suing for lost profits

One of the most troubling aspects of the TPP is found in the draft chapter on investment deals with investor-state dispute settlement which gives corporations the right to sue a government for unlimited cash compensation — in private and non-transparent tribunals — over nearly any law or policy that a corporation alleges will reduce its profits. Kelsey notes that “the vast majority of investment arbitrations under similar agreements involve natural resources, especially mining, and have resulted in billions of dollars of damages against governments for measures designed to protect the environment from harm caused by foreign corporations.” Under the proposed TPP, the investor-state clause can be used to pressure governments into allowing the continued operation of the severely polluting industries out of fear of being sued for lost profits.  Governments around the world are already extremely reluctant to regulate industries like mining and oil, which can bring them large revenues in royalties. With the potential that States could be held financially responsible for reigning in harmful business practices, corporate profits gains an even stronger precedence over disenfranchised Indigenous Peoples living with destructive industries in their backyards.

Fast Track

Negotiators have announced that they are very close to concluding the agreement, with just a few outstanding issues remaining. However, several countries have said that they won’t present their final offers until the US Congress grants President Obama “Fast Track” Authority.

Fast track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), is a process that would rush trade deals through Congress and remove the ability of elected officials to ensure that trade pacts protect workers, communities and the environment. Fast track would allow the president to send already signed trade pacts, including the TPP, to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote with no amendments and a maximum of 20 hours debate.

Despite mounting opposition, The Obama administration is throwing its full weight behind Fast Track and the TPP.   In response, a national day of action against Fast Track  has been declared for April 18th, 2015. The national day corresponds to a global day of action to promote fair rather than free trade deals  with events spanning the globe.  Now is the time to spread the word about the detrimental effects of the deals like the TPP and advocate for something better.

Cultural Survival signed on along with over 550 organizations in sending a letter to then US Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) firmly rejecting fast track trade promotion authority in the United States and calling for a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements. In the letter, this diverse coalition stated that “fast track,” an outdated mechanism that would limit Congressional and public oversight over trade negotiations, is “simply not appropriate” given the broad subjects covered by today’s trade pacts, such as the TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. “Fast track is the wrong track for Americans who care about the health of our families and access to clean air, clean water, and land,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “We need a new model of trade—one that protects communities and the environment while keeping the public engaged in the policy-making process.”

Communities, workers, and especially Indigenous Peoples must have a say in these deals. The fast track is the exact opposite of the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent that is laid out as a human rights standard when negotiating deals that will affect Indigenous Peoples, as the TPP will in a dozen countries.


What can you do?

  1. Get in touch with your area Representatives and Senators.
  2. Share on social media: Fast tracking the TPP ignores the rights of #Indigenous Peoples across Pacific nations. #NoFastTrack for #TPP Atn.@RonWyden .@BarackObama
  3. Learn more with Public Citizen


Since 1972 Cultural Survival has been advocating for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supporting Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience. To read about Cultural Survival’s work around the world, click here. To read more articles on the subject use our Search function and explore 40 years of information on Indigenous issues.


Australia Needs New Approaches to Fracking

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Fracking in Australia continues to meet widespread resistance from Aboriginals. In Western Australia, Buru Energy’s negotiations with traditional landowners in the Canning Basin have been largely unsuccessful, and communities are organizing camp outs to stop the company. In Queensland, the weakening of environmental protections has prompted the Mithaka Peoples to go the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, claiming that “Australia has taken no action to ensure that we are consulted and involved in these decisions, or to protect our rights to our culture.” In the Northern Territory, communities have formed the Northern Territory Frack Free Alliance to oppose the drilling of boreholes and wells near aquifers.

The Australian government is attempting to circumvent these groups with legislative and regulatory changes. While this may accelerate the issuance of permits in the short term, Australia cannot expect to develop a sustainable oil economy without Aboriginal support, and will need to drastically shift its approaches to fracking on Aboriginal territories.

Broome locals opposed to fracking by Buru Energy have set up a camp at the Jackeroo turnoff. [photo credit: Erin Parke, ABC News]

Broome locals opposed to fracking by Buru Energy have set up a camp at the Jackeroo turnoff. [photo credit: Erin Parke, ABC News]

Sources: ABC, Inhabitat, Shale Energy Insider

This post is excerpted from First Peoples Worldwide’s Corporate Monitor, a monthly report on key trends affecting companies interacting with Indigenous Peoples. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.


Supporting Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships

The Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, owned by the Nyiyaparli from Western Australia, is working with the NANA Regional Corporation, owned by the Inupiat from Alaska, to explore business ventures in resource development in the US. If they are successful, the partnership could become the first international joint venture in resource development that is wholly owned and operated by Indigenous Peoples. It could also become the first major international project for an Australian Aboriginal company. The two groups have already worked together to secure a $25 million housing contract, and plan to attend the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s conference in November.

Knowledge exchange and partnerships between Indigenous Peoples from different regions of the world is often an effective method of building capacity and support networks. Funding communities to visit and learn from each other’s experiences with resource development can enhance their ability to engage with companies on fair and equitable terms.

Sources: Mining Australia

This post is excerpted from First Peoples Worldwide’s Corporate Monitor, a monthly report on key trends affecting companies interacting with Indigenous Peoples. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.


Martu Welcome Uranium Development

Martu landowners are welcoming the government’s approval of Cameco’s Kintyre mine in Western Australia, for which they signed a land use agreement in 2012. Despite the landowners’ support, the Conservation Council of Western Australia intends to appeal the government’s decision. Noel Whitehead, CEO of the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, welcomed dialogue with the conservationists, and acknowledged that not all Martu landowners support the decision to work with the company. “But what Martu people will not accept is, through a minority of Martu people, attempting to whip-up hysteria on something that is very clearly in the process of being considered at a state and federal level.”

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent is applicable to all external entities, not just companies, and communities that choose to develop their natural resources can be strong allies for companies under fire from environmental groups. Whitehead noted that the Martu’s decision to work with the company “was not taken lightly” and that the project will adhere to stringent environmental standards.

Sources: ABC