Aboriginal groups have given divergent responses to the moratorium announcement on Wild Rivers legislation, reported Queensland Country Life (22 June 2006 p3).
Pearson takes a firm stand: Indigenous leader Noel Pearson told a meeting in Cape York that the struggle against Wild Rivers was about the future viability of indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the region. "If we are serious about underwriting a future for indigenous people, we have to fight resolutely against this process," he said. Pearson was also reported as saying it was important the different groups worked together to counter the influence of environmentalists.
"The way this policy will work out, Indigenous people will die on welfare. No prospect for development, no prospect for jobs, no prospect for developing the lands that they already have," he said.
Fine tuning not the answer: "The Government can fiddle with the Code and even remove the ‘big axe’ from the legislation, but this Code will kill industrial development with a death of a thousand cuts," Mr Pearson said.
Legislation needs to be thrown out: "We have to deliver a full-frontal attack on this legislation and try to connect with the people in Brisbane and South East Queensland, so that they hear what we are say – that it is absolutely unfair that our rights and our children’s rights should be ignored like this."
Carpentaria LC pro-legislation: Meanwhile Gulf regional chairman of the Carpentaria Land Council, Barry Walden, said traditional owners supported the declaration of the Wild Rivers that fell within his group’s traditional country.
Cultural significance before economic development: Mr Walden said the Settlement, Staaten, Morning Inlet and Gregory Rivers were an important cultural resource to indigenous people. "Many people don’t understand that the river systems and floodplains contain our dreaming tracks and stories. A focus on short-term economic gain means that our spiritual and cultural customs are overlooked," he said.
Queensland Country Life, 22/6/2006, p. 3
Source: Erisk Net