Wild Rivers and Indigenous Rights co-exist
If Tony Abbott overturned these laws he would enable sand mining in the Aurukun wetlands and strip mining for bauxite across the Cape. Queenslanders would and should be horrified by that prospect. The thousands of tourists who trek up the Cape every year aren’t there to see giant mining trucks. Every one of the roadhouses, tourist lodges, ferries and camping grounds – some of them indigenous enterprises – rely on the unique natural wonders of this region.
Tony Abbott has fallen victim to the misinformation campaign about wild rivers, believing outlandish claims that the laws stop indigenous economic opportunities – they do not. The Wild Rivers legislation stops environmentally destructive proposals like in-stream mines and dams. It does not stop indigenous hunting, fishing, grazing or the building of community infrastructure and it does not override native title rights.
It might be an inconvenient truth to Tony Abbott and Noel Pearson, but there was no preference deal for Wild Rivers between the Greens and the Labor government in 2009 or in any other state election.
It is not a choice between indigenous rights and protecting rivers – the wild river laws safeguard both and that’s why the Greens support them. The wild river laws promote clean, green indigenous enterprises and have provided indigenous full-time wild river ranger jobs which protect these pristine rivers for future generations.
Many indigenous leaders support the wild river laws, including:
- Richard Barkley, Tanquith Traditional Owner. Western Cape Bulletin, 18 Jul 2007
The Wilderness Society (who are not affiliated with the Queensland Greens) have published a fact sheet on the Wild Rivers legislation: Wild Rivers Wilderness Society Fact Sheet
Larissa Waters is the Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland - email@example.comPhoto: http://www.wildrivers.org.au/rivers/cape/wenlock_river
by Kerry Trapnell