19 October, 2023
“No one is listening to us!”
OUTRAGED by lack of consultation and communication, Jirrbal Elders and Traditional Owners are feeling misrepresented in the Wooroora Station Wind Farm conversation, expressing their overwhelming support for the project despite reports they do not.
The Jirrbal people claim that a small group of “fringe greenies” and opportunistic Indigenous “troublemakers” claiming to be Jirrbal Traditional Owners, but who are not, have had their views reported over those of the rightful descendants of the land.
Jirrbal Traditional Owner Bradley Go Sam alongside other Elders and Traditional Owners are now demanding that the Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek MP hear their voices too.
“We are extremely upset and angry. There have been media reports that the Traditional Owners oppose this project but no one has made the effort to ask us, and that’s simply not true,” he said.
“The voices of some so-called conservationists and Indigenous folk from another tribe have been heard over ours. They have been making representations for us without our permission.
“There is an appropriate process for who the true claimants of this land are under the Native Title system, and our views need to be heard.
“We are the Elders. We are the Jirrbal people, and it feels like no one is listening to us!”
Mr Go Sam believes the project will create great opportunities for the region and said he and his family would never reject something like that.
Jirrbal Elder Betty Cashmere echoed his words, explaining her people have looked after the country for thousands of years and they know what is best for it, not the “greenies”.
“These people who are trying to prevent this project are denying my people a valuable opportunity to spend time on Country and work,” she said.
“These greenies are saying it is going to destroy our Country. We would never destroy our Country. We have been caring for our Country long before they even existed and we know how to care for our Country better than anyone on this earth.
“People who claim that the Jirrbal people don’t support this project, that’s an outright lie.
“Those protestors, most of them aren’t even from around here. We are quiet people, we just go about our business, but we felt it was time to make our voices heard.”
The Jirrbal people have been doing cultural surveys across the proposed site and mapping it out with Ark Energy for the last two years and the Traditional Owners are happy with the final proposal that has been submitted to the Department of Environment for approval.
Mr Go Sam said the site they mapped out was not rainforest and was grazing land, specifically helping choose this area for a reason.
“We have been at the negotiating table with Ark Energy from day one. They have done the right thing here. They have downsized the project and moved the wind turbine positions at our request. Our people are excited about this project and the many training and employment opportunities it will provide, not just for them but for the entire community,” he said.