POOR FELLA, MY COUNTRY.
Campbell Newman’s LNP government intends to scrap the wild river preservation law in Cape York, instead giving priority to mining and development.
This decision is an absolute tragedy for the Cape York environment, for the indigenous people who supported protection of country and for the environmental groups who fought so hard for protection of the wild rivers.
Politicians and some indigenous leaders are moving right away from any concept of ” protecting country” to ensuring that indigenous communities are now able to use their land rights for economic development and investment. Whilst these sentiments are great for achieving the moral high ground, in effect what is being created is open slather for the mining industry.
We are witnessing massive political and social changes accompanied by exponential destruction of Australia’s magnificent environment. Aboriginal rights trump all state and federal legislation which protects the environment. Aboriginal rights trump Australia’s ratification of international conventions protecting migratory species. Aboriginals can go into National Parks and shoot, spear whatever they like with impunity and immunity. Although if they go into NSW National Parks after December, they may be in competition with 12 year olds who have been given the right to shoot feral animals in National Parks by the O’Farrell government.
Opposition to the wild river legislation and any protection of Cape York country has been led by Noel Pearson who pursues the politics of division with different rights for different folks. Australia now has an insane system of laws which claim to recognise the rights of indigenous by passing laws to protect those rights -but if non Aboriginal people violated wildlife protection laws in the same way, they would end up in prison.
Now the next phase of those rights is unfolding. Native title is no longer about protecting and owning country, its an asset to be sold to the mining companies. Another sacrifice on the altar of the greedy resource industry.
No one denies Aboriginal communities the right to create vibrant economic opportunities. But there are many ways of building a viable future without damaging the land, poisoning the water and leaving untold legacies of problems for future generations. Responsible Aboriginal leaders and elders are broken-hearted by the destruction and the sell-out orchestrated by their own people.
Kiss your country goodbye.