Genuine self-determination: one-step at a time

Genuine self-determination: one-step at a time

November 6, 2012

The true economic independence of Aboriginal people in New South Wales is another step closer to reality today following the announcement the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has progressed further with its Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority Applications or PSPAs.

This push into the mining sector is a bold move by NSWALC. It was borne out of frustration and an understanding that if Aboriginal people wait for government to invest properly in Aboriginal communities, they'd be waiting a long, long time.  

CEO Geoff Scott said there was still a long road to travel for NSWALC in the resource sector, but he remained confident the state's peak Aboriginal organisation was on track. 

"We're now at the point where we can notify the public of our prospecting applications formally as well as consult in more detail with our members, and we're currently doing that," Mr Scott said.

"This process is an extremely long one, but it's a course NSWALC is willing to see through and investigate fully.

"If we want to stand on our own, without reliance on government, then we have to be prepared to lead the way on issues, and that includes investing our own resources."

To that end, NSWALC has lodged applications for PSPAs over four distinct areas of NSW.

NSWALC's large western application has been substantially reduced from its original form, and extends from Mungindi in the north, down to Dareton in the southwest. Other smaller applications take in parts of the southern highlands, the south coast, sites around the Grafton area and a very small area on the far north coast.

Mr Scott said the process was constantly being refined every day.

"These application areas are subject to constant revision. We're always looking to pinpoint and minimise the areas of potential exploration.

"At this very early stage there's no disruption of the land at all, we're restricted to what's called 'desktop studies,' where scientific data like mapping and existing core samples are examined closely.

"The push behind this is to end Aboriginal poverty. We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations of Aboriginal people - to be in a position to meet our own needs.  

"We can sit on the sidelines or we can take an active role to become part of the real Australian economy."  

__________________________________________________________________________
Media contact: Amy McQuire 02 9689 4410