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Traditional owners basically ignored as plan moves forward

Updated: May 8, 2023

Australia has a long history of ignoring and not including traditional landowners in land use and land right conversations. This is once again apparent in the case of the Queensland Government's proposed $12 billion Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project, which has been met with opposition from landowners who claim that they have not been consulted.


What is particularly concerning about this situation is that the traditional landowners have not been consulted at all about the land being used for the project. This is despite the fact that the project will have significant impacts on their land, culture, and way of life.


Save Eungella meeting with traditional owners
Save Eungella meeting with traditional owners

This is not an isolated incident. There are numerous instances in Australia where traditional owners have been ignored and not included in land use and land right conversations. For example, the Adani mine in Queensland was approved without the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners, who have been fighting against the project for years. The Carmichael coal mine is set to have a significant impact on their land, water, and culture, yet their voices have been ignored.


Another example is the Western Highway duplication in Victoria, which has been the subject of ongoing protests by traditional owners who are fighting to protect sacred trees along the route. Despite the protests, the Victorian Government has proceeded with the project, ignoring the concerns of the traditional owners.


This lack of consultation and disregard for the rights and interests of traditional owners is unacceptable. It is vital that traditional owners are included in land use and land right conversations and that their voices are heard and respected. This is not only a matter of justice and fairness, but it is also essential for the preservation of our environment and cultural heritage.


As the Queensland Government continues with its pumped hydro project, it is imperative that they engage in genuine consultation with the traditional landowners and respect their rights and interests. It is time for Australia to recognise the importance of traditional knowledge and to work together with traditional owners to protect our environment and cultural heritage for generations to come.


References


"Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners." First Peoples" - https://www.firstpeoplesrelations.vic.gov.au/acknowledgement-traditional-owners

"The role of the Central Land Council in Aboriginal land dealings." Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/MLW_VolumeTwo_CaseStudy_6.pdf

"Land rights." Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/land-rights

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