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Issue #1471      8 September 2010

WA: Union offers support for traditional land owners

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is warning the James Price Point Gas Hub in WA must be built with the agreement and good will of Kimberley Aboriginal communities and the Kimberley Land Council (KLC).

AMWU WA secretary, Steve McCartney, said the West Australian government will fail the WA public and Indigenous communities if the process of compulsory land acquisition at James Price Point continues.

“Until such a time that an agreement exists, the Barnett government will not achieve union support for the project,” he said.

“The Barnett government is set to repeat the failings of the Court government, which resulted in long protracted battles with traditional owners in the courts, delaying the benefits of these projects for years,” said Steve McCartney.

He said the KLC has approached the negotiations with the State government in a professional and structured manner and that it was a pity that the Barnett government has destroyed any good faith between the parties by consistently threatening the use of compulsory acquisition.

“The Premier will cause damage to Indigenous communities for years to come if he continues down this path; this is why the AMWU will not support the gas hub project while the compulsory acquisition process is underway.”

The union will convene a meeting of fellow construction unions and the KLC in the coming weeks to consider how the union movement will support the traditional owners in the Kimberley.

“We will not stand idly by while the State government steals this land from its rightful owners,” Steve McCartney said.

“The AMWU will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Kimberley Indigenous people to ensure the gas hub delivers good, secure and safe jobs and greater employment and training opportunities for all people”.  

Next article – Unions send message to UPS

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