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FIFO activists do nothing for Aboriginal people


The Green movement isn’t about conservation or environmental protection. It’s far left ideology that uses lies, bullying and deep pockets to opposes all development. An ideology completely at odds with Australia’s regions who are crying out for jobs & businesses opportunities.

By Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO, Executive Director of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce

Over 20 per cent of India’s population, or around 270 million people, live in extreme poverty, defined as less than US$1.90 per day. About the same amount don’t have electricity. That’s no coincidence. Energy and economic development are inextricably linked. India is working to bring electricity to all of its people.

Recently in this newspaper, Adani Australia’s CEO, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, likened India’s transformation today to that of other Western countries last century. “People born in a cabin in the late 1800s were, by the 1950s, living in a suburban home with electricity and their own car” he said.

Green activists don’t want India to make this transformation. Because it would involve activities they dislike taking place on a huge scale: coal, gas, nuclear, dams, mining, construction and infrastructure. So they’re fighting that transformation every step of the way.

The Indian government sees this as a threat to national economic security. In 2014, India’s Intelligence Bureau found foreign-funded NGOs like Greenpeace were hurting its economic development with everything from protests to funding partisan research for political campaigns. The report listed seven areas stalled due to NGO campaigns, from coal power to farm biotechnology to the IT sector, with a possible negative impact on GDP growth of 2-3 per cent per annum.

Foreign-funded activism also attacks economic activities in Australia. Here it also hurts the poorest Australians, people in remote and regional Australia and Indigenous people engaging in economic activities on their traditional lands.

Many people think the Green movement and Indigenous people are kindred spirits. Wrong. Green activists are one of the greatest threats to Indigenous economic development.

A few weeks ago I interviewed Kimberley man, Wayne Bergmann, for my program Mundine Means Business. Bergmann, as CEO of the Kimberley Land Council, led the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr people in their negotiations of a native title agreement with Woodside Petroleum for a gas hub at James Price Point north of Broome.

Many Aboriginal people in the Kimberley live in abject poverty. The project offered jobs, business opportunities and community development across the Kimberley. Green activists ran a relentless campaign to stop the project in which they falsely claimed Kimberley Aboriginal people opposed it. They backed a minority group who the court has said weren’t even traditional owners there.

The campaign was led by wealthy businessmen like Geoffrey Cousins, who recently organised Bill Shorten an all-expenses paid tour of the Great Barrier Reef where they discussed the Adani project, and celebrities like Missy Higgins and John Butler. Fly-In-Fly-Out activists. I’d like to know what they’ve ever done to create jobs or lift Indigenous people out of poverty.

Bergmann said the protest leaders refused to meet with elders supporting the project. “The system failed us because it allowed people who legally can’t be made accountable to wreck this opportunity for the region. And I think it’s wrecked an opportunity for the state.” he said.

A few weeks ago Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon visited Europe to promote the destruction of Australia’s kangaroo industry, endorsing the bizarre claim kangaroos are near extinction. So much for listening to scientists, Australia has over 40 million kangaroos. Twice as many as people.

With a harvest set at around 3 per cent of that, the industry doesn’t threaten kangaroo numbers. But activists are threatening a $200 million industry that’s created over 2000 jobs, many in regional and remote communities including Aboriginal-owned businesses like Warroo Game Meats in regional Queensland.

The Greens are extremists. But Labor is dancing to their tune. Bill Shorten has reportedly refused to meet with Pat Malone and other Aboriginal traditional owners in far north Queensland who are worried about his stand on Adani which they’re relying on for economic opportunities on their country. Shorten was happy to meet with multi-millionaire Geoffrey Cousins. Why not show traditional owners the same respect?

When native title first came in, Greens supported it. They thought Indigenous people would use it to stop development. Green activists subscribe to the myth of the noble savage, imagining Indigenous people living a subsistence, tribal life in the wilderness. Wrong. Not even groups which still practice traditional culture live like this. Now Greens hate native title. Last year Greens Senators opposed Native Title Act amendments to make it easier for traditional owners to make land use agreements. Indigenous groups had lobbied for these changes for a decade.

The Green movement isn’t about conservation or environmental protection. It’s far left ideology that opposes all development and even Western civilisation, ideology completely at odds with Australia’s regions who are crying out for broader economic activities that create jobs and businesses opportunities.

Green activists are fighting Indigenous Australia’s transformation out of poverty just like they’re fighting India’s. With lies, bullying and deep pockets, Green activists are undermining Indigenous people and regional and remote Australia.

An edited version of this article was published in the Australian Financial Review on 21 March 2018.

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Posted by admin on March 21, 2018

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