Archive for the ‘Western Australia’ Category

Uranium miner Paladin should close its Kayelekera mine and clean up its mess in Malawi

November 21, 2015

Kayelekera mine Paladin

Conservation Council of Western Australia, 20 Nov 15  Shareholders at Perth based company Paladin’s AGM will call for the non-operational Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi to be closed and rehabilitated. Calls for rehabilitation follow years of community opposition to the mine and failure to prevent the release of radioactive material into the environment.

The mine has been under ‘care and maintenance’ for several years due to the falling demand for uranium globally.

Charles Roche from the Mineral Policy Institute who will be attending the meeting said “With predicted operating costs almost double the long-term uranium price, there is a real danger that Kaylekera will be abandoned or sold off to reduce company debt. Instead of endless optimism Paladin should be honest about the possibility of re-commencing of mining in the next few years and begin rehabilitation works to protect communities, secure the site and end the cycle of financial losses”.

Mia Pepper, CCWA nuclear free campaigner who is in Africa at the Nuclearization of Africa conference this week said “We’ve been asking, along with French group CRIIRAD, for Paladin to release monitoring data from testing downstream from the mine. CRIIRAD have completed intermittent tests which indicate there is some radiological impact from the Kayelekera mine on the environment.”

“As the mine is about to go into a third year of being in Care and Maintenance we are concerned about the ongoing management of water on site and the structural integrity of the site. We would like to see this mine going into early rehabilitation, given the failures of Paladin to address community concerns, the clear local opposition to the project and the failure to contain radiological material onsite and an uncertain future. Rehabilitation should be done to the same standards expected in West Australia.”

Paladin has two uranium exploration projects in WA, also on hold given the stagnant uranium price and no mid term prospects of improvement. Paladin’s project in Qld is on hold indefinitely given that the Queensland Government reinstated the ban on uranium in Qld. Their JV proposal in the NT is also indefinitely on hold given strong opposition from the NT Government and Alice Springs residents.

Advertisements

Traditional Aboriginal Landowners, and Others Who Care, Complete The Walkatjurra Walkabout

September 19, 2015

heartland-1

http://walkingforcountry.com/2015/09/17/41888/ 16 Sep 15: “The Walkatjurra Walkabout, which started in 2011,  finished its 5th walk in the North Eastern Goldfields town  of Leonora on Tuesday. The walk, a collaboration of Aboriginal and non-indigenous people, is a moving community  protest against the proposed uranium mines in the region.

The month long walk, lead by local Traditional Owners,  covered almost 450 km’s from Wiluna to Leonora, passing  Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine proposal at Lake Way and Cameco’s proposed uranium mine at Yeelirrie Station.  Walk participants included local Traditional Owners, people
from Australia, Japan, Taiwan, England, Sweden, Aotearoa (New Zealand), America and France.

The walks continue to attract people interested in learning about Aboriginal culture, caring for country and to share a united vision for a nuclear free world.

greensSmThe walk was also joined at Yeelirrie for two days by Federal Greens senators Rachel Siewert and Co-Deputy Greens leader Scott Ludlam along with state Greens MLC Robin Chapple.

The visit included a tour of Toro Energy’s uranium project at Lake Way near Wiluna with walkers and Toro Energy. Many of the participants have first hand experience of the
dangers of the nuclear industry, especially those from Japan and Taiwan, whose nuclear industry are fuelled by Australian uranium. … “

Labor Party policy Western Australia – uranium free, thorium free, nuclear free

September 2, 2015

logo-ALPURANIUM AND THORIUM (nb: from Environment chapter)

  1. WA Labor believes that:
  2. Enriching uranium poses significant risks to human health, the natural environment and is not a solution to climate change; and
  3. Thorium also poses significant risks to human health and the environment.

 

  1. In Government, WA Labor will:
  2. Oppose the mining and export of uranium;
  3. Oppose nuclear enrichment, nuclear power and otherwise the production of dangerous radioactive waste;
  4. Oppose the storage of nuclear energy waste in Western Australia;
  5. Oppose the testing or use of nuclear weapons in Western Australia or near our coastline;
  6. Encourage local governments to declare themselves ‘Nuclear Free Zones’; and
  7. Ensure that the mining of thorium in Western Australia only occurs under the most stringent environmental conditions and oppose thorium exports to countries that do not observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

 

URANIUM MINING & NUCLEAR ENERGY (nb: from Industry and Regional Development chapter)

  1. Recognising the problems, hazards and dangers of nuclear power, especially relating to:
  2. The safety of the nuclear fuel cycle;
  3. The unsolved problems pertaining to the reprocessing and storage of radioactive wastes and spent plant;
  4. The growing concern about the biomedical effects of even low radiation;
  5. The coupling of nuclear energy and nuclear weapon development;
  6. The added danger of a future plutonium economy and the threats to civil liberties involved in a nuclear economy; and
  7. The fact that Labor policy contained herein on fossil fuels, energy conservation and renewable resources will ensure Western Australian energy self-sufficiency.

 

  1. WA Labor will:
  2. Reject nuclear power as an option for electricity generation in Western Australia;
  3. Oppose the establishment of a nuclear enrichment facility in the State;
  4. Reject the establishment of nuclear processing plants or the storage of nuclear wastes in the State;
  5. Allow no uranium mining or development in Western Australia; and
  6. Place thorium under the restrictions and conditions applicable to the mining, processing, sale and transportation of uranium currently mined in Australia as outlined in the Resources and Energy section of the National Platform, so far as they relate to nuclear non-proliferation.

 

  1. The platform recognises WA Labor’s long and continuous opposition to Uranium Mining.  The commencement and continuation of any uranium project is inconsistent with WA Labor Policy.  WA Labor will accept no obligation to complete approval processes or honour contractual arrangements entered into by a previous government where such approvals or contracts are directed towards an outcome inconsistent with WA Labor’s platform.

International Relations:

Support measures that prevent the use of Australian uranium exports in the proliferation of nuclear weapons or environmental degradation

Canning Byelection: Abbott’s solar policies could be Liberals’ undoing

August 26, 2015

The solar council is planning a nationwide marginal seats campaign at the next election.

The government has directed the CEFC – which it unsuccessfully tried to abolish – to stop investments in rooftop solar, but changes to the investment mandate remain under legal uncertainty.

ballot-boxSmCanning byelection: solar industry urges voters to reject Liberals ‘war on solar’, Guardian, , 25 Aug 15

Solar Council letterboxes all electors in Western Australia’s seat of Canning encouraging them to vote for Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party The solar
industry is letterboxing all electors in the crucial West Australian Canning byelection urging them to logo-australian-solar-councvote against the Liberal party on 19 September in response to the Abbott government’s “war on solar”.

The Solar Council leaflet states: “Installing solar helps Western Australians cut a typical power bill by up to 65%. The federal government is targeting solar by slashing the renewable energy target. We will support any political party with a good solar policy.”

  It advocates a vote against the Liberals and for either Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party.

The council has invited all party leaders and candidates to a public forum on 13 September

Canning Forum

– a week before the byelection that could affect Tony Abbott’s hold on the Liberal leadership – to explain their solar policies.

The byelection was prompted by the death of Liberal MP Don Randall, who held the seat by a healthy margin of almost 12%, but recent polls show a swing of 10% against the Liberals, taking their two-party-preferred lead to a much narrower 51%-49%.

The council’s chief executive, John Grimes, said his organisation was advocating a vote against the Liberals because “it is precisely people like the householders of Canning who will be hurt if the Liberal party is allowed to fully implement their anti-solar agenda”.

FacebookTwitterPinterest

The flyer organised by the Australian Solar Council urging votes for any party except the Liberals on 19 September. Photograph: Australian Solar Council

“This government commissioned the Warburton review which advocated the closure of the small-scale renewable energy target, which supports rooftop solar, and it has tried to ban the Clean Energy Finance Corporation [CEFC] from investing in rooftop solar projects,” Grimes said.

Almost half the houses in Canning have either rooftop solar or solar hot water, according to official figures, and the electorate has the 12th highest solar uptake in the country, according to calculations by the RenewEconomy website.

The deal eventually struck between the government and the Labor opposition left the small-scale solar scheme untouched, but Grimes said the council’s campaign was based on the government’s clear “intentions”.

“If this government were to get its way it would do whatever it took to close the solar industry altogether,” he said……..

The Liberal candidate for Canning is a former SAS officer, Andrew Hastie, up against a local lawyer, Matt Keogh, for Labor. The Greens candidate is small business owner and university lecturer, Vanessa Rauland. The Palmer United party is running the managing director of Palmer’s Mineralogy resources company, Vimal Sharma.

The solar council is planning a nationwide marginal seats campaign at the next election.

The government has directed the CEFC – which it unsuccessfully tried to abolish – to stop investments in rooftop solar, but changes to the investment mandate remain under legal uncertainty. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/25/canning-byelection-solar-industry-urges-voters-to-reject-liberals-war-on-solar

Anxiety in neighbouring Shire as Gindalbie Metals offers to host nuclear waste dump

May 15, 2015

Gindalbie Metals nuclear dump proposal surprises nearby WA shire, ABC News  By Sarah Taillier 14 May 15, A shire in Western Australia’s Mid West says it has been caught completely off guard by a proposal to develop a national nuclear waste dump on land near its boundaries.

Iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals yesterday confirmed it had nominated Badja Station, south of Yalgoo as a potential site to hold low and intermediate level radioactive waste.The proposed site lies about 70 kilometres from the township of Morawa, where more than 600 people live.

Shire of Morawa president Karen Chappel said she was stunned to hear about the application from a resident yesterday. “It could have an absolute major impact on our shire and to just hear via the telephone that this is what’s happening [is unreasonable],” she said.”I seriously would have thought that the Shire of Morawa was owed the courtesy of being told that this was on the run.”

Ms Chappel said the shire was trying to source more information about the proposal. “When we’ve gained the information that we think is necessary, our council will be taking a formal position on where we sit with regard to this proposal,” she said.

Under the selection process, states and territories will not have the right to veto the Federal Government’s site selection.

“That may be legislation, that may be the principal of it, but underneath it all, every politician is put there by population and the people,” Ms Chappel said.

“They have an obligation and a responsibility to sit and listen to how their decision affects us and I would suggest they would need to sit and listen to this one.”

A shortlist of nominated sites is expected to be made public in July……..

Greens spokesperson Robin Chapple described the proposal to develop a nuclear waste dump as a “blatant cash grab from a struggling company”. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-14/gindalbie-metals-nuclear-dump-proposal-surprises-shire/6468176

Aborignal people in Western Australia bought off by uranium mining companies

May 15, 2015

Uranium Minefield: Middle Men Are Bleeding Aboriginal Land Dry, VICE  May 11, 2015 by Jack Callil Buried in Australia’s soil is a third of Earth’s uranium, the largest reserve in the world. This means there’s big money in mining it. But standing on it are Indigenous Australians with native title rights to that land. The Martu people, only numbering only around 1,000, own around 136,000 square kilometers in Western Australia.

On the other side of the dispute is the world’s largest uranium company Cameco, which in collaboration with Mitsubishi, want to extend the Kintyre mine that was previously owned by Rio Tinto. It bears the name of an area cut out of the Karlamilyi National Park for mining in 1994.

Darren Farmer, a burly middle-aged Martu man, told VICE that “the Martu people do not want this uranium mine. Everybody has said no.” But that hasn’t stopped Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who last month gave Kintyre the green light.

This decision was made possible by the intricate mechanics of the Native Title Act. Indigenous Australians are forced to nominate a corporate body that represents them legally. In the case of the Martu people, theirs is the Western Deserts Land Aboriginal Corporation ( WDLAC). In 2012 WDLAC gave up Martu land for mining, and are nowworking with Newcrest Mining, Fortescue Metals Group, Reward Minerals—and Cameco.

WDLAC is currently under investigation for what VICE understands is the corrupt management of millions in mining profits. The body probing them is the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations ( ORIC). ORIC recently asked WDLAC to provide reasons as to why they shouldn’t be overtaken by special management. When VICE asked ORIC spokeswoman Lisa Hugg about details, she was only able to confirm that they’d received “a lot of interest and complaints”.

Darren Farmer is one such Martu man who is complaining. He’s says he’s been thrown out of WDLAC because he kept demanding access to their multimillion-dollar mining deals. But two “bullying” Martu men called Teddy Biljabu and Brian Samson control WDLAC, Mr Farmer says. Teddy and Brian told him the deals were “none of his business”. Upon pressing further, he claims he was was assaulted.

“Sure I’ve been attacked at the meetings. I’ve been punched in front of everyone,” Mr Farmer told VICE. “And if anyone says anything about it, they get the same beating.” While Mr Farmer is only one Martu man, he said that talks over Kintyre involved “lots of people at those meetings declaring that they don’t want this.”

But siding with WDLAC for money is sometimes “the only way out” of the poverty the Martu people still live in. “They’ll ask Teddy for $50 and he’ll give it to them, so they think he’s this great guy,” Mr Farmer said. “But our houses have no windows, no doors, no power, no good hot water. Our housing, health, education—it’s still the same as it’s ever been.” This is despite the report that around $50 million has been collected by the WDLAC in mining profits, and $20.24 million in trust fund for the Martu people.

This is raising concerns that mining companies are selectively buying off Indigenous people for use of land. There are even reports that Toro Energy, which owns theWiluna mine, has sweetened traditional land deals with new Toyotas. “The older people don’t want mines, but some young people do because of the money,” said one Wiluna man Glen Cook to VICE. “But the mining companies give money to a few people, but not to all of us.”

Mr Farmer described similar instances of specific members of WDLAC suddenly owning new cars. “They are all supporters of Teddy and Brian,” he said. “They say at meetings if you don’t side with them, then you aren’t going to get your Toyota, and you aren’t going to get your money for Christmas.”………

With federal approval of the Kintyre mine, WA will now have four uranium mine projects— Mulga Rock,Yeelirrie, and Wiluna—in advanced stages of establishment.

The Martu people are hopeful that WDLAC will be overtaken by ORIC. They had until May 8th to explain their actions, but they were recently granted a month’s extension. “This will give them time to get rid of the rest of the money,” an anonymous source told VICE.

VICE approached Environmental Minister Greg Hunt and WDLAC over a week ago, but both failed to respond.

Follow Jack on Twitter: @jack_callil     http://www.vice.com/read/uranium-minefield-middle-men-are-bleeding-aboriginal-land-dry

Not everybody in Yalgoo Shire is happy with nuclear waste dump hosting

May 13, 2015

Ben 14 May 15 As a resident of the midwest and has lived and worked on and around the area of Badja Station, I am totally against this idea in our back yard.

I as a former employee, have contributed to the success of GML during the exploration stages of the Karrara mining operation.
Thanks to that I got to see and feel this country and now regret the destruction that has already occurred

So I as one individual totally reject GML nominating this area as a facility for radioactive waste storage which will inevitably lead to establishing a much larger facility to accommodate international nuclear waste for avery handsome $$ profit to those involved.

NO PANGEA HERE !!! Please.

I hope and wish the Widi people are successful in their claim of native title of this area. It is beautiful country, surrounded by at least six vibrant, active towns / communities well within a 150km radius of the proposed radioactive waste dump as well as numerous exploration (because of the mineral wealth) and tourist activities in the area, not forgetting those living off and trying to protect this area

I object to, and will support anyone against, this proposal.

Western Australia site in Shire of Yalgoo volunteered as nuclear radioactive trash dump

May 13, 2015

Gindalbie applies to host nuclear waste facility in WA’s Mid West By Emily Piesse Iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals has confirmed it has nominated part of its land holding in WA’s Mid West as a potential site for a low level radioactive waste dump.

The site, on Badja Station in the Shire of Yalgoo, has been put forward by the company under a national tender process by the Federal Government. The nuclear waste facility, which would be a national repository for low level waste, would be the first of its kind in Australia.

Most low level waste is stored in hospitals, universities and other private facilities but this would act as a central storage centre.

The Shire of Leonora in WA’s Goldfields has also confirmed it has supported an application to have the nuclear waste dump on a pastoral station’s freehold land between Leonora and Malcolm.

A spokesperson for Gindalbie confirmed the miner had submitted Badja Station to be assessed, but said it was too early to comment as the Government was yet to finalise its shortlist of sites.

Badja Station is currently the subject of a native title claim by the Widi people.

Widi spokesperson Clayton Lewis said he had no prior knowledge of Gindalbie’s proposal.”It was a bolt out of the blue … [we’re] just amazed that it’s going to happen or potentially going to happen in our country,” he said.

“We think if we can get a decent body of support at this early stage we can certainly contest it.”

A spokesperson for federal Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane would not confirm whether Badja Station was under consideration, but said initial site assessments had begun.

Under the selection process, states and territories will not have the right to veto the Government’s site selection.

A shortlist of nominated sites is expected to be made public in July.

Abbott govt funds dodgy climate researcher, Bjorn Lomborg, while cutting back genuine science

April 23, 2015

UWA was approached by the federal government” [ to host Bjorn Borg’s Centre, with govt funding]

In an email to supporters of the Climate Council on Friday, former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery said it was “extraordinary” that the government had abolished the Climate Commission “which was composed of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts” on the basis of lack of funding only to find the money to “import a politically-motivated think tank to work in the same space.”

“Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community,” Professor Flannery wrote. 

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmBjorn Lomborg centre: leaked documents cast doubt on Abbott government claims, The Age April 23, 2015 Lisa Cox, Matthew Knott It was the Abbott government’s original idea for the University of Western Australia to host a think tank created by the “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, according to leaked talking points.

The government will provide $4 million over four years to bring Dr Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Centre methodology to Australia at a new centre within the University of Western Australia (UWA) business school.

In the talking points, obtained by Fairfax Media, UWA says it does not plan to spend any money on the centre and that it believes government funding will largely cover its cost. The government has previously stated that UWA would also contribute to the centre and that the government is contributing only a third of its estimated cost.

While Dr Lomborg accepts the science of human-induced climate change, he is a controversial figure because he has argued that the risks of climate change have been overstated and it is more important to tackle problems such as malaria.

He has campaigned against the Kyoto Protocol and the use of carbon pricing as a solution to cut carbon emissions, instead favouring investments in research and development

Since the centre was announced, there has been speculation, including among university staff members, about how the centre was conceived and how it came to be funded.

Last week a spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The government is contributing around a third of the total cost of the centre based on a proposal put forward by the University of Western Australia and Dr Lomborg’s organisation.”

But in talking points circulated to UWA staff members, David Harrison, UWA’ s head of corporate and government affairs, provides a suggested answer to any students or colleagues to the question: “How did the Australia Consensus Centre come to UWA?”

“UWA was approached by the federal government,” the talking points state……..

Fairfax Media understands that government ministers, following discussions with Dr Lomborg, had the idea of bringing his methodology to Australia and approached UWA about hosting the centre. The university then submitted a proposal to the government that was accepted.

Dr Lomborg has links to some of the government’s most senior figures. ……..

The establishment of the centre comes as the UWA has moved to axe other research facilities and academic staff in the sciences……..

In an email to supporters of the Climate Council on Friday, former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery said it was “extraordinary” that the government had abolished the Climate Commission “which was composed of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts” on the basis of lack of funding only to find the money to “import a politically-motivated think tank to work in the same space.”

“Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community,” Professor Flannery wrote.

“His message hasn’t varied at all in the last decade and he still believes we shouldn’t take any steps to mitigate climate change. When someone is unwilling to adapt their view on the basis of new science or information, it’s usually a sign those views are politically motivated.”http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bjorn-lomborg-centre-leaked-documents-cast-doubt-on-abbott-government-claims-20150423-1mqfnn.html

Australia moving Aboriginals off remote lands- uranium miners will be happy

March 28, 2015

Ghillar Michael Anderson, leader of the Euahlayi people and ambassador of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, wrote an open letter to the United Nations on March 3, in which he states that the proposed closures of remote communities are to open up the land for mining.

“For the Western Australian government to now dispossess and displace the peoples of these homelands is designed to facilitate an expeditious expansion of mining interests and other developments,” he wrote.

The announcement of the closures coincides with the introduction of the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill by the Barnett government last November. The bill, which is about to be debated in state parliament, proposes changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. These simplify the process of gaining permission to develop Aboriginal sites, as the chief executive of the DAA will have sole discretion over whether to deem heritage protection. This would continue a DAA trend over recent years of site assessment which is beneficial to industry.

Are Mining Interests Behind Western Australian Remote Aboriginal Community Closures?http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/are-mining-interests-behind-western-australian-remote-aboriginal-community-closures March 20, 2015 by Paul Gregoir Yesterday, 18,000 people turned out at rallies across Australia in protest of the Western Australian government’s proposal to close up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal-protest-remote-W

 

The move will see municipal and essential services provided by the government cut. Premier Colin Barnett announced the closures in November last year, claiming many of these communities are economically unviable.

On March 1, the Matagarup Aboriginal Refugee Camp was set up on Heirisson Island in Perth, anticipating the looming refugee crisis that will be caused by the remote community closures. Indigenous groups estimate that 15,000-20,000 people could potentially be affected by the closures and some see the proposals as more of a land grab than a measure against any real financial concerns.

Figures from the WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) detail 274 remote communities across the state, with 12,113 Aboriginal people currently living within them.

Over past decades, it’s been the federal government that’s provided funding for 180 of these communities. However last September, federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion announced that the responsibility to provide services to these communities would be handed over to the state government on July 1 this year, along with $90 million in funding to cover a two year transitional period.

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott defended the WA government’s decision to close communities down stating on ABC radio, “what we can’t do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices.” This remark outraged many in the Indigenous community, as they regard people living in remote communities as carrying on the cultural and spiritual obligations to the land they inherited at birth.

On March 5, Barnett announced that an official investigation was underway into which remote communities would be closed and suggested that this would uncover incidents of child abuse. This is reminiscent of the Northern Territory Intervention, when in 2007 troops were sent in to close down remote NT communities on the pretext that paedophile rings were in operation. These claims were subsequently proven false.

WA Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Ben Wyatt, told VICE that the premier’s suggestion he will produce evidence of child abuse is an attempt to demonise Aboriginal people to justify his decision.

“Mr Barnett has shown no understanding of the history of the remote communities nor the likely impact if you shut 150 communities,” said Wyatt, himself a Yamatji man. “The larger centres currently do not have the capacity to provide services to their current populations, let alone an influx of people moving in from the remote communities.”

Mitch Torres is an organiser of Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities, which mobilised yesterday’s national day of action in centres around the nation. A Djugun and Gooniyandi woman from the Kimberley region, Torres said the protests drew attention to the lack of consultation the government has undertaken with the remote Aboriginal communities and the pending homelessness crisis that could eventuate. She said there are grave fears the closures are a repeat of past removal policies, giving no consideration to future social impacts.

“This is about taking people off their sovereign domicile, where they want to live, which took them years to get back because of being moved off country because of stations, the pastoral leases and the stolen generation, which has had an intergenerational effect,” Torres said. “In the last 50 years people have fought to go back to their country and get established. Then we get told we don’t want that experiment anymore. It’s like pulling people off country and putting them into the missions.”

Ghillar Michael Anderson, leader of the Euahlayi people and ambassador of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, wrote an open letter to the United Nations on March 3, in which he states that the proposed closures of remote communities are to open up the land for mining.

“For the Western Australian government to now dispossess and displace the peoples of these homelands is designed to facilitate an expeditious expansion of mining interests and other developments,” he wrote.

Anderson points out that the proposed closures are a continuation of others in the past. The Swan Valley Nyoongar community in Lockridge, Perth was closed in 2003 andOombulgurri in the Kimberley in 2011. Both were bulldozed last year.

The announcement of the closures coincides with the introduction of the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill by the Barnett government last November. The bill, which is about to be debated in state parliament, proposes changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. These simplify the process of gaining permission to develop Aboriginal sites, as the chief executive of the DAA will have sole discretion over whether to deem heritage protection. This would continue a DAA trend over recent years of site assessment which is beneficial to industry.

Marianne MacKay is an organiser of the refugee camp at Matagarup, which is part of theNyoongar Tent Embassy. The Yoorgabilya woman from the Nyoongar nation said the camp is designed, “to show the world that we feel like refugees in our country.” And she questions whether the government has any plans to resettle the people who will be forced off their land.

“Our people are being pushed off communities and having water, electricity and essential services cut off, so they’ll move and then when they do they’re considered to be abandoning their lands and mining leases go up and exploration leases,” MacKay explained. “Services are still going to be needed, just somewhere else. So it’s not like they’re going to be making extra money. They’re going to be kicking people off their homelands to steal that land for big business and mining.”

Last week, the camp was issued with an ultimatum by the City of Perth to dismantle all permanent structures at the site by 12 pm on March 13. When this was not adhered to around 50 police moved in with horses and dogs. They began dismantling the embassy, seizing mattresses, chairs and a marquee, which they loaded into trucks. MacKay downplayed the police confiscations, stating they’d already packed most of the camp away, so it couldn’t be taken.

“We stood in a circle because our mission was to protect the sacred fire. They weren’t putting it out and we didn’t let them,” MacKay said, as the Matagarup camp defiantly continues.

Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulrgregoire