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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Aboriginal community joins CSG fight

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Local Indigenous people joined the weekend’s seismic-testing protest, near Casino, after serving paperwork at Metgasco offices claiming that the company had not met its requirements under the Native Title Act. Local Indigenous men Kevin Boota and Kamally Monsell accuse them of having ‘free reign over traditional land and its resources’.

The company contracted to undertake the testing, Terrex, claim on their website that they ‘have respect for traditional owners and sites of cultural significance’. However Mr Boota and Mr Monsell are not satisfied that they have met their obligations.

Mr Boota told Echonetdaily, ‘We are concerned that they are walking through country without a cultural officer with them, which is required under the Native Title Act, which the government has promised to uphold. The Native Title Act is a fraudulent document that leaves us fighting about our own future.

‘Once a Native Title has been signed, they can bring in their own archaeologists and anthropologists. We are concerned that they are not connected bloodline to country. They can’t come from Sydney to the northern rivers [to make these decisions] as they don’t know all the stories.’

When Mr Boota speaks of the future, he is sure to include all peoples.

‘We have a vested interest of those who are on our lands, we have a duty of care to them as well, to their children and our own.

‘It is our god-given right as sovereign people of this country with ancestral ties to this land over thousands and thousands of years, to protect this country. If we allow these practices to happen, our children won’t have places to swim, they will not know their bush food and we will not be able to continue our traditional practices on land for ceremonies, which we have only just started to re-ignite.’

Mr Monsell added, ‘this is not a black or white thing; it is a Mother Nature thing’.

Mr Boota believes that CSG mining damages more than just the land and has a deep concern for its cultural impact.

‘A lot of our ceremonies are based around the spirituality of the lands and the spiritual energy that comes from it. This brings great sensitivity and great ideals to our culture. We are about to see that destroyed.’

Mr Boota and Mr Monsell will be attending a tribal council meeting this coming Wednesday, then heading to the most eastern point of the continent, Byron Bay, and opening up dialogue about reconciliation. The process will be peaceful and organic and, in time, women will be asked to gather to have a moment for Mother Earth.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. I was absentee, but, had I been able to attend, but I would certainly have stood with the protestors at Casino last weekend.

    CSG is a Pandora’s box, and, what is worse, we have already seen what it does to land and people, yet still our Govt ‘representatives’ allow it to continue unabated. Shame! Despite so called protective acts being set in place, our precious land remains unprotected, and the insatiable CSG machine rolls on hungrily.

    I sympathise with Mr Boota’s comments. To brazenly fail to acknowledge the Ancestral ties and Native Title rights of Indigenous Australians is typical of the arrogance that all too often accompanies the CSG insurgence over the Northern Rivers and elsewhere. Even beyond that, though, as Mr Monsell wisely notes, ‘this is not a black or white thing; it is a Mother Nature thing’.

    All who love this land, even those who simply rely on it for their survival, must stop this carnage now. I am a non-indigenous Australian, but I, too, along with untold others, feel a deep spiritual connection to this beautiful country, and am appalled at what is being done in the name of ‘clean’ energy!

    I attended a local meeting recently, and was shocked, but (in a strange way) pleased, to hear gasps of horror from some attendees. Those gasps meant that these folk had finally really heard what is actually taking place, and will now be motivated to spread the word to yet others who, to date, have remained unaware of the reality of this issue.

    I urge any who require more information regarding this issue to attend meetings, or speak with those neighbours whose property bears a yellow triangle. If what you hear dismays you, as it does literally thousands and thousands of Northern Rivers residents, please offer your support at rallies, and become active.

    Yes, CSG is a Pandora’s box , and it won’t go away by itself. It needs a concerted effort through both group and individual action to place a desperately needed lid very firmly, and permanently, on it!

  2. Here here!!! As a matter of interest, have a google earth look at the town of SONORA, Texas, in the USA. See what 1000 gas wells look like, then imagine the same for the Casino area. It’s a very distressing image. You can also check out north of Tara in Qld and see what’s already on our doorstep, you may understand why people up there are walking off their well-ridden properties When exactly is the government going get their heads out of the sand and open their damned ears?

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