"The Greens and Labor have today decided not to support a motion that called on conservation groups in Western Australia to honour a signed agreement they made with the indigenous land owners of the Kimberley that promised Green groups would not interfere with the Woodside Gas Hub project at James Price Point", Ron Boswell said today.
In 2007 conservation groups such as, the World Wildlife Foundation, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Conservation Council of Western Australia, and the Wilderness Society all signed an agreement that they would recognise the rights of the Indigenous owners of the Kimberley to work with Woodside Gas to create a gas processing plant at James Price Point.
The agreement entitled the Joint Position Statement on the Kimberley Liquefied Natural Gas Project promised, amongst other things, to support the project as long as it was in a single hub area. The agreement also recognises that the Indigenous peoples of the area should have the right to control and monitor the use of the land in relation to this project, as well as not interfering with its development.
“However, conservation groups in the area have now reneged on their promise not to interfere with the deal and are actively campaigning against the gas hub despite the fact that the Indigenous people of that area have made it clear that it is their wish the project go ahead" Senator Boswell said.
This plant would create jobs and wealth for the Indigenous members of the Kimberley for years to come and break the cycle of poverty which has plagued the Indigenous people of that region.
“Today I moved a motion in the Senate that called on the conservation groups to honour their agreement with the local Indigenous peoples and to respect their rights, as the true land owners of the area, to use that land to help their communities –
The motion read:
On the next day of sitting I will move that the Senate-
(a) calls on the greens and green groups, including the World Wildlife Foundation, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Conservation Council of Western Australia, and the Wilderness Society, to honour the promise they made in 2007 with the traditional land owners of the Kimberley, to respect the decision of the Indigenous community in its response to Woodside Gas’ proposal to process gas at James Price Point in the Kimberley;
(b) recognises the right of the traditional land owners of the Kimberley to use that land to create economic prosperity and employment opportunities for the indigenous people of that region for generations to come; and
(c) expresses concern that indigenous people who have exercised this self-determination and accepted a single hub at James Price Point have been victimised, unfairly pressured by some green and conservation groups, and subjected to racial vilification through being referred to as ‘Toxic Coconuts’ in publicly distributed material.
The Gillard Labor government and the Greens chose to side with the protesters and did not vote in favour of the motion".
Senator Boswell also stated that "this just shows that Labor and the Greens are hypocritical and inconsistent with their views on Indigenous land rights. They say they are for the rights of Indigenous land owners to have a say in how land is used".
"If the Indigenous communities indicate that they want to use that land to better the plight of their people for generations to come, then the Government and the Greens turn on them and try to sabotage their efforts to create a better future".
"By voting against this motion Labor and the Greens have proven they don’t want the Indigenous people to prosper and build a real future for their children using the land that they were rightfully given after several hard fought legal campaigns" Senator Boswell said.