KLC Media Statement, 02.10.2009
Traditional Owners will urge the Prime Minister to ensure gas development in the Kimberley does not repeat mistakes of the past at a meeting in Broome tonight. KLC Executive Director Wayne Bergmann said that development in the Kimberley was an opportunity for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to give real meaning to his commitment to closing the gap.
“We welcome the Prime Minister to Broome, and the opportunity to talk to him about Traditional Owners’ vision for their future,” said Mr. Bergmann.
“Traditional Owners have given conditional support to a gas hub north of Broome because of the opportunity for education, training and jobs it presents.
“But the development of the hub, with conditions, is also seen as a way to minimize industrial development and protect wider cultural values in the Kimberley.
“By giving conditional support to gas development, Traditional Owners have put the highest value on sustaining our cultural heritage and the integrity of our environment while also taking responsibility for developing opportunities to improve the economic and social conditions of Kimberley Aboriginal people.
“But for this to happen, the Federal Government must commit to support communities to deal with all project impacts, for the lifetime of the development.
“The reality is that resource development has brought very few long-term benefits to Indigenous people in Australia.
“We believe we can do things differently in the Kimberley, but only if Government supports us to deliver a real regional benefits package.
“No one wants to see an industrial hub in what is currently an area with pristine natural values without delivering significant and permanent benefits for Aboriginal communities to close the gap.
“The Federal Government must work with Traditional Owners and the KLC to identify and implement an enduring mechanism to deal with the impacts over the life of the project.”