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Minister meets Noonkanbah community to discuss oil drilling



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MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. F.M. Chane tit W

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The M i n i s t e r f o r A b o r i g i n a l . A f f a i r s , S e n a t o r F r e d C haney, h a s

u r g e d t h e p eo p le· o f K oonkanbah C t a t i c a . - f -in/ t h e K im b e r le y R e g io n o f

.A . t o r e - o p e n d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h G o v ern m e n t a u t h o r i t i e s and t h e A -a;:

F i n i n g Company on t h e q u e s t i o n o f

on t h e p r o p e r t y .

p r o p o s a l , o i l e x p l o r a t i o n a c t i v i t y

S e n a to r C haney a t t e n d e d a m eetin g'· a t K oonkanbah y e s t e r d a y

m o r n in g (T h u r sd a y ) d u r in g w h ic h h e d io -b u sse d w it h com m unity l e a d e r s

t h e p r o b le m s w h ich h ad a r i s e n o v e r t h e p r o p o s e d d r i l l i n g i n an area,

r e g a r d e d a s a s a c r e d s i t e b y t h e A b o r ig in e ? :.

Tho M i n i s t e r ' s t o u r , a r r a n g e d b e f o r e th e c u r r e n t d i s p u t e , i n c l u d e s

c a l l s on c o m m u n itie s a t O o n b u lg u r r i, .L cm b ad in a, Kowamjum, B e a g le B a y ,

La G ran ge, D e r b y 'a n d Broom e. . , .

" I t o l d t h e p e o p le a t K oonkanbah t h a t my o n e .r e q u e s t war. t h a t

t h e y ta k e p a r t in m ore t a l k s on t h i s i s s u e , ; s a i d S e n a to r C h an ey.

■ t

" U n t il t h e an n ou n cem en t l a s t wjeelt t h a t Air-ax w ou ld d r i l l e l s e . ' e r e

t h i s y e a r i t lo o k e d a s th o u g h t h e r e w ou ld n o t b e t h e o p p o r t u n it y f o r ouch

d i s c u s s i o n s .

"1 was a s k e d a t t h e m e e t in g w it h t h e K oonkanbah

t o g e t t h e company t o s u s p e n d o p e r a t io n s ; f o r two y e a r s .

r e o g le t o t r y

"But a s I p o in t e d o u t , we now h a v e t h e r e s t o f t h i s and som e o f

n e x t y e a r t o s e e i f we can a r r i v e a t some s o l u t i o n w h ic h p r o t e c t s t h e

i n t e r e s t s o f a l l p a r t i e s . ■

" I f we f i n d t h a t t h i s i s n o t enou gh t im e , th e n we may h a v e t o

c o n s i d e r a s u in g f o r a f u r t h e r d e l a y . H ow ever, I t o l d tV ; c o w a u n ity I d id

n o t h a v e t h e pow er t o g i v e them su c h a ch u m itm e n t.

I -

"••mat I d id s a y was t h a t i t v:as v e r y im p o r ta n t t h a t t h e r e s h o u ld

b e p r o t e c t i o n f o r s a c r e d p l a c e s an d t h a t - I f e l t t h e r e --ar, new r e a l d o u b t

a b o u t t h e e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f t h e p r o t e c t i o n a f f o r d e d by o '. ;t: ng la w " .

•Senator Chaney s a i d t h a t t h e e x a c t p o s i t i o n und<-r e x i s t i n ' ; la·.·;

w o u ld n o t b e c l e a r u n t i l th e Suprem e C o u rt d e a l t w it h th e hr onkar.bah

p e o p l e ’ s a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a p erm a n en t i n j u n c t i o n .

"Ho;.-ever, I d o n ’ t t h i n k t h a t we s h o u ld r- i t b ack and w a it f o r

t h a t c a s e t o b e h e a r d ," s a i d t h e M i n i s t e r . ;

"We’ v e g o t to work on f i n d i n g an a n sw e r and t h a t m eans wo;:·.;:: by

t h e Koonkanbah p e o p le and t h e i r a d v i s o r s , by t h e m in e r s and by C -ovsrnuent';

t o t r y t o f i n d a b e t t e r a n s w e r 't h a n w e ’ v e g o t now.

! '

The M i n i s t e r s a i d t h a t t h e K oonkanbah com m unity had w elco m ed t h e

o p p o r t u n i t y t o p u t t o him d i r e c t l y t h e dfepth. o f t h e i r f e e l i n v · o v e r t h e

s a c r e d s i t e s and h e had a s s u r e d them tha«k h e f e l t h e u n d e r s to o d t h e i r

• s i t u a t i o n . L ' 1

k . 1 .

"A part fro· '.he g r e a t co n cern " .f^ r. t h e s p e c i a l s i t e s th e p e o p le

a l s o p la c e d g r e a t e m p h a sis on t h e i r f e a i i t h a t i n t r u s i o n b v o u t s i d e r s

w o u ld s e r i o u s l y dam age t h e s o c i a l and m o r a l; ,.s tr u c tu r e o f the. com m u n ity,"

he said,

"They noi n t e d p a r t i c u l a r l y to· &hei p r o b le m s c a u se d bv a l c o h o l i n

t h e to w n s and t h e y sp o k e o f m in in g to·.-ns·'trhiidx had s e r i o u s l y d i s r u p t e d

A b o r i g i n a l s o c i e t y . I r e s p e c t t h e i r c o n c e r n and I t o l d th e n i t h ad b een

p o s s i b l e , i n o t h e r p a r t s o f t h e co u n try ,? ; to t draw up agreem ent?:, c o v e r i n g

r.o t o n ly t h e c r u c i a l i s s u e o f w h ere d e v e lo p m e n t co u ld , o c c u r b u t u l o

p r o v id in g · f o r s t r i c t c o n t r o l o f movement?· and b e h a v io u r by o u t s i d e r s

v/orkin.;; on an Aboriginal property. 1 ■

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"V/hat I v?ant t o s e c w orked out;, i s a way i n h ic h A b o r ig in a l

s p e c i a l a r e a s can b e p r o t e c t e d w it h o u t aj’c o n f r o n t a t i o n .,’i t h o t h e r

s e c t i o n s o f t h e A u s t r a l i a n com m u n ity. . f: ’

F r i d a y , 5 J u ly 1 979

UAKBSRkA A. C. T .

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