Media Release: University Union Opposes WA Governmentâ€™s Compulsory Acquisition of Land
The National Tertiary Education Union’s (NTEU) has voted unanimously to support the traditional owners of James Price Point in their opposition to the Barnett Government’s compulsory acquisition of land for the Kimberley Gas Hub.
The Union has called on the State Government to:
· Immediately cease the process of compulsory acquisition of land for the Kimberley Gas Hub project,
· Continue consultation and negotiations with the traditional owners of the land, and
· Commit to respecting the wishes of the traditional owners of the land and if necessary consider alternative sites for the project
Gabe Gooding, NTEU WA Division President, said “NTEU members are extremely concerned that the State Government is moving to compulsorily acquire the land. The NTEU supports best practice economic development which provides benefit for the community as a whole while at the same time protecting the environment and respecting the wishes of Indigenous land owners.”
Ms Gooding argued the decision reversed much of the positive progress that Indigenous groups have made in regards to Native Title.
“To move to compulsory acquisition for private purposes, when there are active Native Title claims being determined, and despite the Government having previously signed a Heads of Agreement for the use of the land, demonstrates a worrying lack of respect for the traditional owners”.
The NTEU has long history of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in campaigns for social and economic justice. The union has extremely active Aboriginal members at all levels, with the resolution having the full support of the Union’s Indigenous Policy Committee.
Ms Gooding said, “The NTEU believes that justice and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a vital question in Australia. We are proud to stand with other unions and members of the community in calling on the Government to return to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith with the traditional owners and their representatives”.
The National Council of the NTEU consisted of approximately 150 delegates representing all Australian universities and much of the TAFE sector.
For further information contact:
Gabe Gooding, President, NTEU WA Division.
Marilyn Strother, WA Representative, NTEU Indigenous Policy Committee.
Stephen Kaless, UnionsWA, Media Officer.