Aboriginals and the Mining Industry: Case studies of the by David Cousins

By David Cousins

In 1973, Peter Rogers concluded that 'Australia has now not performed itself justice within the dealing with of contemporary as opposed to Aborigines conflict... the shortcoming of preparation... is a shame to executive, inner most companies and unions alike'.

What has occurred for the reason that then? Aboriginals and the mining industry stories 3 major questions - to what volume have Aboriginals shared within the culmination of the mining growth? Have new land rights helped Aboriginals guard their pursuits as laid low with mining? And what has been the contribution of mining to the commercial improvement of distant Aboriginal groups? those are important questions for all focused on the influence of mining enlargement on Aboriginal communities.

This publication reports the participation of Aborigines within the mining corporation employment. It examines the contribution of the hot land rights laws to preserving Aboriginal pursuits. And it asks how a long way the expansion of mining in distant elements of Australia has aided the industrial improvement of Aboriginal teams residing there. specific case reports of mining initiatives incorporated.

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We are grateful also to Mr Charles Perkins, Chairman of the Aboriginal Development Commission, for providing the Foreword. Finally we thank Rosemary Thompson, Anne Marsden and Jenny Gibson of the University of Melbourne and Ann Goldate of CEDA for assistance at various stages with typing. Foreword Economic development, as it has been experienced by Aboriginal people, can be likened to a fire. It is seen to have good qualities—in the heat and light it provides. But, if uncontrolled, fire is also seen to have the potential to ravage and destroy the people and the land over which it sweeps.

Intense Aboriginal attachment to the land produces reluctance to be involved in the projects which may be seen as entailing its desecration. Evidence from the case studies shows that most Aboriginals employed by the companies have been non-locals. ) Type of work The type of work offered by mining companies may affect the motivation of Aboriginals for employment. Typically, Aboriginals have been employed in positions of limited responsibility, requiring little skill and failing to satisfy important motivations for self-esteem and status in community eyes.

There is, however, little evidence to support or refute this contention. In the NT, royalty payments made to individuals may also reduce incentives to work, but there is little evidence of this so far. Finally, the case studies have pointed out the mixed effects of alcohol on employment motivation of Aboriginals. At Groote Eylandt, restrictions on the sale of alcohol to company employees encouraged Aboriginals to seek employment. The willingness to work to obtain an income may have been enhanced by the desire to purchase alcohol, but the effects of alcohol produce less willingness and less ability to work.

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