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Effective consultation program on Uranium mining



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IU 78/4

M E D IA RELEASE

Effective Consultation Program on Uranium Wining

Anti-uranium mining spokesmen seemed intent on a policy of deliberately twisting the facts surrounding the Government’s decision and future policy for the mining of uranium, the minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Pit Ian Viner, said today. '

Fir Viner said comments yesterday in Hobart by the general secretary of FCAATSI, miss Plarcia Langton, reflected a lack of knowledge of the true situation and ignored the consultative process which has taken place over a long period and the place of the all-Aboriginal Northern Land Council established under the Government's Land Rights Legislation. r

"To claim that Aboriginal people in the proposed mining areas knew nothing about the proposals until after the Federal Election last December if sheer nonsense,” he said. -

Fir Viner said the process of consultation started with translated cassettes in the local Gunwinggu language which were widely distributed throughout the. region during the Ranger Inquiry. Thaco evr>rs>>Ā«>yd the Ranger proposal and the possible impact on the physical environment. .

"In addition, many meetings between the Northern Land Council and Traditions: owners were the basis of the case presented to the Ranger inquiry by the Northern Land Council," he said. .

mr Viner said he had given an undertaking in Parliament when the decision was announced on 25 August that the Government would continue the process of' consultation with the Aboriginal people.

"I honoured this undertaking within 48 hours by going to Oenpelli, which is in the heart of the proposed mining areas, and convening a meeting of the local people and the executive of the Northern Land Council, " mr Vinfjr said. ' f

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He continued: "The meeting, was very well attended and I carefully explained to the people the background to and reasons for the Government's ; decision to proceed with uranium mining under the carefully controlled conditions recommended by the Ranger inquiry.

"my remarks were translated into the local language and I answered all questions put to me at the meeting frankly and fully."

"The process of consultation has continued since 27 August through the Northern Land Council and frequent discussions by me and officers of the Department with the Chairman, Games Yunupingu, and staff of The CouncilĀ»"

CANBERRA, A.C.T. 24 GANUARY, 1978