Albert Wiggan on stage on the John Butler Trio Australian tour
Call for Aboriginal Australians to protect Kimberley Country
Young traditional owner Albert Wiggan from Beagle Bay has joined a Broome community blockade, now into its 17th day and preventing Woodside works at the site of a proposed gas hub in The Kimberley.
Albert is appealing to indigenous people “from all over the Country from East to West, North and South, and indigenous from The Kimberley to come and fight for our ancestors” near James Price Point on the Kimberley coast north of Broome. The proposal has not yet been approved by State and Federal Governments or received final investment commitments from joint venture partners Woodside, BHP, Shell and Chevron.
“Australians all honour Anzacs, our Australian ancestors who risked their lives for this country and that’s more or less what we’re doing..fighting for our ancestors’ past and present who would fight to the death for their Country.
“This Country, has been protected forever and we are respecting the hard work and foresight of our leadership to keep this Country alive, to keep its aboriginal law and heritage, despite the pressures on it from Australia’s
Young Indigenous Leader Albert Wiggan at the blockade
“It is simply remarkable that Walmadan still exists with virgin bush and all its heritage sites including internationally rare, intact, dinosaur trackways and the dreaming stories with them.”
Last week, consultant to the Kimberley Land Council, Mr Wayne Bergman, who has led the negotiations with the WA Government and Woodside, described the blockade as “hooligan tactics” and “disrespectful” to traditional owners’ who voted in May to agree for the WA Government to compulsorily acquire the site under conditions still being finalised.
However Mr Wiggan has challenged Mr Bergman to explain “why he has recommended traditional owners’ sign up to this deal. This is a deal which is highly disrespectful to the traditional owners whilst being offered as part of compulsory acquisition laws.
“First and foremost, people need to understand there are traditional owners who are a part of this blockade who voted “no.”
“What respect did the traditional owners’ get from State Government by forcing them into an agreement under compulsory acquisition?
“When the KLC engage with its clients throughout The Kimberley, they do not present both sides of the story and then allow people to make up their own minds.
“The KLC and its consultants only discuss what they can gain out of these proposals and what they can do to capitalise on these proposals. They don’t allow people to consider both sides of the story. They drive and focus on the opportunities & benefits. They do not discuss the costs to our Country, the costs to us, the values that may be put at stake or the conditions attached to these deals …
“There are a number of things that they have avoided discussing with the indigenous community & what would amount to much more genuine consultation and enable informed consent.”