If You Don’t Fight, You Lose!
After watching a 60 Minutes Report on the looming battle over the exploitation of The Kimberley for resources, a couple of thoughts went through my head. Colin Barnett, the W.A. Premier and Wayne Bergmann from the Kimberley Land Council, both cited how the proposed Gas Plant at James Price Point would bring enormous opportunities for the for the local indigenous people such as employment, wealth through mining royalties, etc. Would this really be the case though?
I am sure Wayne Bergmann is trying his best on behalf of his people, in Colin Barnett’s case, I seriously doubt it!
Exactly how many jobs would aboriginal people get out of this project considering that the amount of trained personnel amongst the local indigenous community would be fairly small?
Would Woodside be willing to spend all that time and money on training, when they could import trained people from elsewhere to build and operate the plant?
Would all this money that they say will be a boon to the local indigenous community actually help lift them out of the squalor that some of them live in?
I think the more likely scenario will be that many of those jobs will go to outsiders who will descend on the area attracted by the big wages that are common in the resource sector. That in turn will lead to inflated prices for rent, goods and services that will further marginalise a lot of people who live on the edges already. Broome will likely suffer the same sorts of problems that are seen in places like Dampier, Karratha and Port Headland!
The Kimberley Land Council have already been blindsided when Colin Barnett announced the compulsory acquisition of the land for the plant. A couple of days ago Mr Bergmann and other members of the Land Council were in Canberra lobbying against this blatant land grab by the W.A. Government.
This Gas Plant is probably the tip of the iceberg for the Kimberley and is wrong on so many levels, the aboriginal people and the wider community must start thinking of the wider and longer term implications if it is given green light.
In the 60 minutes Report, I think Albert Wiggan came out with the most intelligent rationale against any exploitation of the Kimberley and everybody who loves the Kimberley should keep it in mind!