Coal Mining and Coal Seam Gas on Gomeroi country: Sacred lands, economic futures and shifting alliances

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Journal Article
Energy Policy, 2016, 99 pp. 242 - 251
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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd North western NSW has seen a host of interest groups working in alliance opposing coal and coal seam gas mining. These groups - farmers, residents and environmentalists share concerns about the impact on the unique black soil and aquifer, of fossil fuel more broadly. While these shared alliances across class, gender and generations are emergent, Aboriginal citizens are uniquely placed in this contest over land, environment and resources. This paper sets out to show the historical and contemporary significance of the place of Aboriginal people in the debate over land use, arguing that, for the first time in history, Aboriginal worlds are central to community futures. In this space, new relationships are being forged and new discourse is required to comprehend the complex position Aboriginal citizens have as custodians of place and at the same time, the responsibility to provide for families and communities, otherwise excluded from the prevailing modern economy. With reference to the history of both relationship to land and land usage over Gomeroi country, and drawing on ethnographic along with archival research, this article seeks to contribute to a critical understanding of Aboriginal people's dealings in relation to their land, their cultural and economic interests with in an emerging regional coal economy, and in turn how they are redefining the context for energy resource extraction, and energy policy.
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