Lesson 3: Student Response

Student Response (Word document)

'A mining company has proposed the construction of a dam at an important Aboriginal site. They may very well get government approval. What is your response to this?'

Each group discussed their concerns about the mining operation. They then had to answer the following question from the point of view of their stakeholder: 'What do you see as a possible solution to this issue?'

These are two of the points of view.

The Aboriginal People's point of view

We, the Aboriginal Community Representatives, would hope that every Aboriginal Person is given a piece of land so that we, as a community, could build a complex that could house the social needs of Aboriginal People. Not every Aboriginal Person wants a piece of land, but we think it is important that some be set aside for Aboriginal People to make use of as they want.

The area of land the mining industry plans to use is quite sacred to the community. We don't agree that mining should take place on the land. In the past when land has been taken for mining it has been destroyed. This is why we feel so strongly about keeping this sacred area of land for the Aboriginal People.

Land is connected closely to our culture. It is our mother. Alcohol is killing a lot of our people here; they should be on our land. Kids are getting bruised from the police too. There's nowhere for the people to go now. That's why we need our land.

The problem for Aboriginal people is probably identical across the nation. They've got no land here but you can't take the land from our souls. It is within us all the time. We just worry that they might be damaging sites or abusing the land that we could put to better use and that means so much.

The mining industry's point of view

The mining industry's main aim is to boost the Australian economy by creating a new mining industry on the area of land in focus. This establishment will create jobs for many Australians including Aboriginal people.

The objectives of the groups involved in the land rights issue in fact differ very widely. Thus, for certain Aboriginal people living in a traditional situation, land rights claims mean quite specific and concrete requests to be granted freehold title over their own ancestral lands. But for other Aboriginal people who no longer have any close connection with their traditional territories, the claim is for a general grant of land (not necessarily traditional or ancestral Aboriginal land).

We, the mining industry representatives, have no formal information on the connection between local Aboriginal people and the land. We do believe that minerals belong to the community. We believe that the Aboriginal people are part of the community.

We strongly believe that mining industries would be of great benefit to the Australian community as a whole, and we are sure that the government will agree. Top