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Human rights, not fracking rights | South Sydney Herald South Sydney Herald

Aboriginal IssuesEnvironmentNews

Human rights, not fracking rights

An open letter to Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, from First Nations people in the Northern Territory: “June 21, 2019 marks 12 years since the start of the Northern Territory Intervention (now called Stronger Futures). Although Aboriginal people have become conditioned to the detrimental impacts of those racist laws, the trauma is deeply entrenched and continues … The voices of people struggling under these racist laws have not been heard, or their pleas have been distorted to impose further repressive laws on them.”

Cathy Gill speaks at the rally in Hyde Park. Photo: Andrew Collis

This open letter is a cry for empowerment of Aboriginal communities through local governance. It calls for an end to excessive policing, increased incarceration rates, the removal of children from their communities, pressure to sign over land, and the imposition of compulsory income management, all of which entrench a sense of helplessness.

Now a new attack on sovereignty and self-determination is underway. The NT government has released proposed fracking maps covering 50 per cent of the territory. The impoverishment caused by the Intervention has made communities vulnerable. Still the grassroots are fighting, holding protests and sending delegations to government bodies and the corporations that are coming for their land. In return for fracking they are being offered what should be basic human rights – housing, health, education, cultural support. What a disgrace!

Twelve years ago, Arrente-Gurdanji woman Patricia Turner said the government was implementing the Intervention as “a Trojan horse to resume total control of our lands”. Fracking is the proof!

Garawa and other First Nations elders, who strongly oppose both the Intervention and fracking on their land, addressed a rally in Hyde Park on June 29. Muruwari and Budjiti man Uncle Bruce Shillingsworth em-ceed the event.

Cathy Gill, Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney. The Collective meets 1st & 3rd Mondays of the month at Federation House, 23 Mary Street, Surry Hills, or contact via Facebook.

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