Australian news, and some related international items

Planned New South Wales solar farm may have Aboriginal stakeholders

sunWind company seeking Aboriginal stakeholders for possible solar farm development By Kerrin Thomas The company behind the White Rock Wind Farm, to be located in northern New South Wales, is considering developing a solar farm nearby and is seeking Aboriginal stakeholders to assist in preparing a heritage assessment.

Construction of Stage 1 of the White Rock Wind Farm is expected to start soon, at the site 24kms west of Glen Innes.

70 wind turbines will be constructed initially, expected to produce enough energy to power 75,000 homes a year.

The proponent, Goldwind Australia, has now engaged a company to conduct an assessment of the Aboriginal heritage impacts of a potential solar farm adjacent to the wind farm site.

The company is proposing a 20 to 25 MW facility that would occupy an area of about 50 hectares, with power to be exported through the wind farm’s substation.

NGH Environmental has been engaged to seek information from Aboriginal Stakeholders with cultural knowledge of the Maybole/Spring Mountain area. The purpose of the consultation with Aboriginal people is to assist the proponent in the preparation of the Aboriginal heritage assessment.

Those involved in the process will be required to assist in the determination of the cultural significance of any Aboriginal objects or places within the subject area.

Registrations close later this month.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

ERA’s Ranger uranium mine – dead but ERA just won’t lie down



Did the Australian Labor Party get rid of Martin Ferguson as Minister For The Nuclear Lobby, only to replace Gray-nuclear-him with Gary Gray -a new Minister For The Nuclear Lobby?

Opposition resources minister Gary Gray has said that a closure of Ranger would have “massive implications” for the economy of Arnhem Land and would be unfortunate for the uranium industry in Australia.

Energy Resources of Australia nears decision on future of Ranger uranium mine, SMH, January 12, 2016  Energy Reporter The future of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory hangs in the balance as owner Energy Resources of Australia nears a decision on a strategic review.

Rio Tinto-controlled ERA said on Tuesday it would update the market this quarter on the strategic review, which it kicked off in October after being advised by traditional owners that they oppose an extension of production at the mine near Kakadu.

The Mirarr traditional owners refused to back the miner’s bid to extend its processing permits beyond the current expiry date of January 2021.

ERA, 68 per cent-owned by Rio, warned then that it may have to write down its assets as a result. Some analysts calculate the impairment could reach several hundred million dollars. ERA, for whom Ranger is its only producing asset, is due to report its 2015 earnings on January 28…………. Continue reading

January 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian launch for Aboriginal owned solar energy storage system

The products are being launched at Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural centre in Adelaide on Wednesday 2 September. Ms Oberon said Adelaide was chosen for the launch because of the council’s Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, which provides up to $5000 towards the cost in installing solar PV storage across the residential, business, education and community sectors. Funding for the program also has financial support from the South Australian government.

“We felt it was important to acknowledge the South Australian government and the City of Adelaide for such a forward-looking and innovative scheme,” Ms Oberon said.

The company is also hoping other state governments and councils will be encouraged to take up the idea of supporting the uptake of renewable energy storage.

The company’s core mission is based on the fundamental Aboriginal approach of stewardship of the earth and its resources. This means needing to shift out of high-emissions fossil-fuel derived energy.

Aboriginal-owned energy company one-upping Tesla By Willow Aliento, The Fifth Estate Friday 8 January 2016 The renewable energy storage game is about to be disrupted, with Australian Aboriginal-owned company AllGrid Energy announcing the launch of WattGrid, a new 10kWh solar energy storage system it says is around 30 per cent cheaper than the Tesla Powerwall.

Customers also don’t have to wait until 2016. Spokeswoman for AllGrid, Deborah Oberon, said the company expected to be making its first deliveries in the next two to three months.

portable solar system AllGrid

The $11,999 WattGrid unit comprises an aluminium cabinet containing tubular lead acid gel batteries, and a hybrid 5kW solar inverter with battery management system that has load share capability with the grid and uninterrupted power supply capability.

The unit is also accompanied by a software app, WattsHappening, that allows users to view real-time information and interface with the system.

Beta testing has shown the unit can help solar owners maintain an energy supply profile that can be matched to the demand profile, potentially rendering drawing grid power unnecessary.

The Queensland-based company is also releasing another product it has developed, the PortaGrid. This is an independent unit comprising solar panels, storage, UPS, inverter and outlets that is suitable for remote and off-grid locations, as well as emergency situations.

The units can be supplied with an inbuilt weather station that will automatically close up the panels in the event of a severe weather hazard such as a cyclone. Continue reading

January 11, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland, solar, South Australia | 2 Comments

Australian media ignored the indigenous achievements in opposing a nuclear South Australia

Dennis Matthews 24 Dec 15 In response to Dave Sweeney’s “good  nuclear news” – on the leadership of indigenous Australians in opposing the nuclear industry and nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

handsoffIt’s correct, in December Karina and Rose Lester shared the Conservation Council of SA (Conservation SA) 2015, $1000, Jill Hudson Award for environmental protection for their opposition to the nuclear industry, but, apart from a small column in The Advertiser which didn’t mention the nuclear industry I’ve seen no mention of this important event.

I looked for a media release on the Conservation SA website but couldn’t find anything.

Perhaps someone could put the media release on this website?

PS. The first winners of the Jill Hudson award were Adnyamathanha activist Dr Jillian Marsh and ABC journalist Rose Crane. I understand that Jillian is involved in fighting attempts to put the proposed national nuclear waste dump on Adnyamathanha land.

December 23, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people granted Native Title

Native title granted by Federal Court for Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people, ABC News, 17 Dec 15 By Nicola Gage Descendants of Aboriginal families who helped Burke and Wills on their ill-fated expedition through central Australia have won native title over their outback land.

Hundreds of Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people have gathered near Innamincka in South Australia for a bush hearing of the Federal Court.

It determined the group to be the rightful native title holders of 40,000 square kilometres of the outback. The area stretches across seven pastoral leases and includes Coongie Lakes National Park, Innamincka Regional Reserve and Strzelecki Regional Reserve.

Lawyer Michael Pagsanjan said the Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people fought for decades for recognition, after filing their original claim in 1998.

“The Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people will have the right to hunt, the right to camp, the right to fish and the right to look after special places,” he said.

“Today is a really momentous occasion where they can sit back, take a deep breath, a sigh of relief.

“This day isn’t just important for them, it’s important for their ancestors who have passed away.”……..

Historical past where two cultures met

The remote region includes places of significance to the Burke and Wills expedition, including the old “dig tree” under which food was buried.

The Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people helped the explorers, giving them food and shelter, and sharing knowledge about the land.

“For those explorers who were willing to accept their help, they luckily survived,” Mr Pagsanjan said.

“But unfortunately for those explorers who denied or rejected that help, they perished.”

Mr Pagsanjan said the native title determination marked a new chapter in South Australia.

“This is the last of the larger, far northern claims that’s been resolved,” he said.

“Now we’ve got close to about 60 per cent of the state which is capable of being determined.

“We’ve got a goal that soon we’ll hopefully have resolved the vast majority of claims in the state.”

December 18, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | 1 Comment

Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners continue to fight $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine

text-aboriginal-rightsVow to fight mine  ‘Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners were blindsided last week..’ 9 Dec 15:

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners  were blindsided last week by revelations that Queensland  Coordinator-General Barry Broe was proposing to extinguish  native title on parts of their traditional lands in the  Galilee Basin in order to enable Indian company Adani to  develop infrastructure for its $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine. …
“It is beyond comprehension that the government would  consider such a shameful and absurd proposal in an era when  our rights are sanctioned under international law and when  we are already in the Federal Court contesting the state  government and Adani’s attempts to override our rights,”
[Adrian] Burragubba said. “I assure the Premier she will be bringing  on one of the biggest human rights battles we’ve seen in Queensland in a long time. … ” … “

December 12, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland | Leave a comment

Western Australia systematically eroding Aboriginal heritage rights

highly-recommendedSeparate but unequal: the sad fate of Aboriginal heritage in Western text-action-aboriginalAustralia The Conversation,  Senior Lecturer, Human Geography, Curtin University December 7, 2015  There is systemic discrimination against Aboriginal heritage in Western Australia. This does not come from a racist administrator somewhere who hates Aboriginal heritage, but from the evolution of the institutions, rules and conventions that make up cultural heritage management.

Let me explain why.

Western Australia manages the heritage sites of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sites through different institutional channels, under different laws. This system is now providing much higher levels of protection for non-Aboriginal heritage.

There are several obvious imbalances. Should the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment bill that’s currently before parliament be passed, the maximum penalty for an individual illegally disturbing a non-Aboriginal heritage site will be A$1 million and two-years imprisonment, but for an Aboriginal site it will be A$100,000 and 12 months imprisonment, doubled on a second offence (it is currently A$20,000 and imprisonment for nine months, increasing to A$40,000 and two years for a second offense).

Less obviously, since Colin Barnett’s government took office in 2008 it has gradually reduced protection by reinterpreting definitions within theAboriginal Heritage Act 1972 to severely curtail the number of new sites. To date, some 1,262 sites have been blocked from gaining protection.

In 2012 the definition of “sacred” was reinterpreted to only include sites “devoted to a religious use rather than a place subject to mythological story, song or belief” – leading to the deregistration of 35 sites. This was found earlier this year to be a “misconstruction” by Justice John Chaney in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Dreamtime stories have long been and continue to be considered sacred to Aboriginal people.

Furthermore, a recent report by UWA archaeologists indicates that more than 3,000 Aboriginal heritage sites have lost registration status as part of sweeping changes in classifications in the Aboriginal Heritage Register.

At no stage have Aboriginal custodians been notified about the changing status of their heritage……….

Proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act

Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Upper Hunter Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Trust under scrutiny over funds to mining industry

scrutiny-Mining funds reserved for Indigenous groups allegedly funnelled back to industry, ABC News 7 Dec 15  By state political reporter Brigid Glanville

A New South Wales Government body is under scrutiny amid claims it failed to distribute trust money to local Indigenous projects in the Upper Hunter and instead gave it to a mining industry body.

Key points:

  • Trust set up so that mining companies pay $50k for each new development
  • Funds to go to Aboriginal groups with connection to Upper Hunter
  • $300k given to ARG, a company endorsed by chief mining lobby group
  • Aboriginal Land Council chief says ARG has little affiliation with Indigenous communities Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Aboriginal landowners in King’s Canyon area want protection against mining


“The CLC and traditional owners of the park will accept nothing less than a [government] decision to protect the park for future generations by prohibiting exploration or mining within its boundaries.”

Kings Canyon landowners want protection from mining: ‘What happens if the water gets messed up?’ Guardian,  , 8 Dec 15 Watarrka national park’s Indigenous owners will petition environment minister over an existing fracking exploration licence and future mining ‘of all kinds’

Traditional owners of the land encompassing Kings Canyon in Australia’s central desert are petitioning the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, to guarantee their protection against mining operations.

Under Northern Territory legislation, the Watarrka national park has no real protection from oil and gas exploration or mining operations, according to David Morris, the principal lawyer of the NT Environmental Defenders Office (EDO). Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Don’t undervalue the contribution of Australia’s indigenous people at Paris Climate Summit

“It’s not good enough that some communities will be impacted worse than others. If you’re talking about the Pacific Islands you’re talking about people losing their homes, people having to move away from where their culture is, where they’ve beenâ¦throughout their family’s history. It’s not about, some people yes are going to be impacted more, but it’s like the people who are going to be impacted more have contributed least to this problem, and that’s where we talk about this being a justice issue that’s not fair.

West Australian Indigenous association, the Kimberley Land Council has sent a group of representatives to the conference.

The Council’s CEO, Nolan Hunter, warns that Indigenous communities shouldn’t be undervalued.

logo Paris climate1What do the Indigenous voices say on climate change? SBS, 8 Dec 15 Climate change continues to dominate the agenda, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull holding firm to his target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 levels of carbon emissions at the Paris talks, but some are wondering where the Indigenous voices are in the debate?

It’s a truly international topic of discussion: what can and should the world do about climate change?Like many nations, Australia faces hotter summers, more droughts, rising tides and a significant impact on its ecology.

Larissa Baldwin, national coordinator of youth climate group Seed, says the country’s Indigenous communities will bear the brunt.

And she believes their voices aren’t being given enough attention.

“I don’t think we have been given enough of a say, when you look at Indigenous communities around the world we’re already being impacted by climate change right now. We’re also on the forefront of fossil fuel extraction in Australia, and I think for a lot of us – we’ve had to send people over to Paris to actually get in front of our world leaders and say ‘hey you need to listen to us’.” Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Indigenous Australians Western Australian group at Paris UN climate talks

Rising sea levels and global temperatures could impact on Kimberley Aboriginal groups, who potentially face hotter and more frequent bushfires, affecting traditionally significant animal and plant life.

WA group represents Indigenous Australia at UN climate change conference  By Natalie Jones  A group of leaders from Northern WA is heading to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris to be the voice of Indigenous Australia.

The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) group of five will be led by KLC chairman Anthony Watson, who is also the Australian delegate to the Indigenous People’s Forum on Climate Change.

“I’ll be with the Pacific Islanders. They have a lot of concerns about their islands going underwater and they’ll be raising their concerns and I’ll be supporting them in whatever way I can,” Mr Watson said. Continue reading

November 25, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Aboriginal leaders meet Kiribati president in support of climate action, stopping coal mines

Kiribati 15Wangan & Jagalingou leader in historic meeting with Kiribati president November 19, 2015 Joins president’s call for no new coal mines; seeks support to defend W&J’s rights and country

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owner, and senior spokesperson Adrian Burragubba, will this morning meet with President Anote Tong of Kiribati and offer support to his call for a global moratorium on new coal mines. The meeting will bring together for the first time two leaders of traditional peoples in the region vulnerable to the devastating impacts of coal mining and burning. Continue reading

November 22, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Indigenous Australians fight Liberal bigwig Grant Chapman’s plan for radioactive trash dump

handsoffIndigenous groups to fight plan for Flinders Ranges nuclear dump THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 18, 2015 Michael Owen Aborigines in the northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia are vowing to fight any move to make a site owned by a former senator the home of a national nuclear waste dump.

A group representing the ­Adnyamathanha people yesterday said it was fiercely opposed to any expansion of the nuclear industry. The group was shocked that Barndioota, along the Leigh Creek railway to Port Augusta, was one of six sites, including three in South Australia, being considered by the federal government to store low and intermediate-level nuclear waste.greed copy

Former senator and state Liberal Party president Grant Chapman jointly owns the long-term lease to
Wallerberdina, a station near Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges. If the site were chosen, it would house a ­storage facility over about 100ha in the northern section of the 25,000ha property.

Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob spokeswoman Jillian Marsh yesterday said there was no support for the “imposition of a radioactive waste dump on ­Adnyamathanha country”.

“We are shocked that one of the three nominated sites in South Australia … is 377 Wallerberdina Road, Barndioota,” Ms Marsh said. “We understand that ex-Liberal senator Grant Chapman is the current owner of the nominated site that is a perpetual lease property and therefore no native title claim can be lodged.”

She said federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg should disclose who was consulted before sites were nominated. “We want no further expansion of the ­nuclear industry,” she said………

November 18, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Indigenous Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob shocked at selection of South Australian site for radioactive trash dump

Response from the Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob regarding the Federal Resources Minister’s announcement of 3 sites nominated for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob are a group of Adnyamathna people who meet regularly to discuss issues relating to our land and culture.

The Camp Law mob share this message on behalf of all Adnyamathanha people and other South Australians who are opposed to any further expansion of the nuclear industry.  We have taken part in the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, and our views along with many others are clearly stated in our submission that we do not support any expansion of a nuclear industry this includes the imposition of a radioactive waste dump on Adnyamathana country at Barndioota.

We are shocked to hear on Friday 13th November 2015 that one of the 3 nominated sites in South Australia for a national nuclear waste dump is 377 Wallerberdina Road, Barndioota.  We understand that ex-Liberal Senator Grant Chapman is the current owner of the nominated site that is a Perpetual Lease property and therefore no native title claim can be lodged over this area.  It must still be governed according to the requirements of the Aboriginal Heritage legislation.


We demand that the Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg publicly declare who he has consulted regarding these nomination, and who has the authority to nominate these si­tes.

We want to know who are the experts with local knowledge that took part in the advisory panel prior to these sites being nominated as waste sites?  Who are the Traditional Owners that took part in this process?  What Traditional knowledge from thousands of years of occupation has been incorporated into the decision-making?

Our involvement is this industry is nothing new. We were concerned by the government agreeing to uranium mining activities that have now permanently contaminated our land and our groundwater.   We want no further expansion of the nuclear industry and we will continue to fight for our rights as Traditional Owners in respect of the wisdom of our old people that came before us.

That’s what Traditional Owners do.  We care for our country.  We only wish governments and industries would do the same.  Stop playing with our future and care for our country.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian govt avoiding opposition from Aboriginals, as it selects nuclear waste dump sites

text-cat-questionIs the Australian government in  a hurry to reassure Sydney residents about the nuclear waste dump, and also scared of the potential powerful opposition by Aboriginal people?  Australia is contractually bound to take back these wastes from France.

handsoffNative titles extinguished Significantly, native title has been extinguished on all the shortlisted sites.

Six areas make shortlist for nuclear waste storage, AFR, by Laura Tingle, 13 Nov 15, South Australia appears to be the most likely home for nuclear waste storage after the Turnbull government shortlisted six sites for a facility to store low-level radioactive waste.

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg unveiled the list of six sites arising from a process in which landowners voluntarily nominated their land. A final decision is expected by the end of next year after long community consultations.

The six shortlisted sites are at locations near Sally’s Flat in NSW; Hale in the Northern Territory; Cortlinye, Pinkawillinie and Barndioota in South Australia; and Oman Ama in Queensland….

The federal low-level waste storage proposal is separate from the [South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission] scheme originally raised by a nuclear energy inquiry commissioned by the Howard government – and recently canvassed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – that would see Australian uranium exported and ultimately brought back as high-level waste…….. Continue reading

November 13, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,011 other followers