Kimberley Traditional Owners refuse to be Australia’s guinea pig

Traditional Owners will meet at Yurmulun Community (Pandanus Park) on Thursday 17th July to discuss Mitsubishi-Buru’s controversial plans to frack for shale and tight gas in the Kimberley without an EPA assessment.

Despite State Government approval for Mitsubishi-Buru’s 2014 pilot fracking program, Nyikina Mangala Traditional Owners are concerned over the lack of environmental monitoring.

“We need to ensure environmental checks and balances are in place right from the start,” says Nyikina Mangala Traditional Owner and PBC Director Anthony Watson. “While Mitsubishi-Buru might be adhering to government standards, experience has taught us that often government isn’t at sufficient arm’s length from business to make a proper decision.”

“Fracking opponents in the United States talk of irrevocable damage to river systems and water supplies. We need to be absolutely confident Mitsubishi-Buru has the capability to undertake this safely,” Mr. Watson says.

The meeting comes only weeks after the Yungngora Community at Noonkanbah Station publically backed Mitsubishi-Buru’s plans to frack for gas at their Asgard well in the second half of this year.

Nyikina Mangala PBC Chairperson Wayne Bergmann is not surprised by the community’s position.

“When people are desperate for economic stimulation, it’s not surprising they hope fracking can be done safely. But we don’t want to be Australia’s guinea pig.”

“Until Nyikina Mangala have had the chance to hear from and consider the advice of independent experts on Mitsubishi-Buru’s frack plans, we cannot make an informed decision about what happens on our country,” Mr Bergmann says.

Invitees to the bush meeting include Yawuru Traditional Owners, members of the Ambooriny Burru Foundation (represented by KRED Enterprises) and any other Kimberley Traditional Owners concerned they may be impacted by the effects of fracking.

“This meeting is about getting organised to protect the things that are important to us,” Mr Bergmann says.