The Aboriginal Heritage Industry:Ka-Boom or Busted!
Kado Muir (Aboriginal Heritage Consultants P/L)
Paper short abstract:
I consider some of the disputes for Aboriginal people interacting with mining and resource companies through Aboriginal Heritage processes in Western Australia.
Paper long abstract:
Mining is not a sustainable industry. It is exploitative, destructive and unstoppable. Yet it is powerful, it is the lifeblood of the Boom in Western Australia and is fueling the prosperity of the Australian Nation. In most cases mining operations are located at the modern day Australian frontiers. Mines are developed where Aboriginal people are the main if not the only long term residents of localities. The developments of mines often come at a cost to Aboriginal residents and people are forced to consider weighing up the opportunities against the losses and at the end of the day resign themselves to the inevitability of mining. In most cases participation in an Aboriginal Heritage Survey for anything ranging from $300 to $600 per day is the only income community members may derive from a mining project. This income is paid begrudgingly on behalf of the miners and the community people are often compromised on their ability to maintain the integrity of their culture, their sacred sites and their responsibility for future generations. This paper will consider the real costs and shed light on the lack of benefits flowing from mining in Australian frontier environments to the long term Aboriginal residents of those areas. It identifies Aboriginal Heritage as an Industry and considers the issues and implications of Aboriginal participation in this integral yet under valued aspect of mining and resources development.