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a good step « Previous | |Next »
September 22, 2003

I meant to mention this story I came across in The Weekend Australian (no link) yesterday, but I got waylaid. The story refers to the Martin Labor Government in the Northern Territory planning to hand over to indigenous traditional owners the title to much of the vast system of national parks, in return for long-term leasebacks and guaranteed free tourist access.

About time.

Aboriginal people do own a large part of the Northern Territory and form more than a quarter of the population. Who better to look after the territory's natural heritage, country, and habitat? The white folk have certainly mismanged the environment, as evidenced by the Murray Darling Basin.

The previous conservative Country Liberal Party regime that had ruled the Northern Territory for decades had always struck me as having all the appearances of a white colonial regime. Under the New Labor regime there is co-operation on native title not hostility.

Returning the national parks is a better way of ensuring aboriginal economic development than an economics based on hunter gathering or welfare. It is a little step in giving the traditional owners control of their affairs and resources.

Maybe the parallel and segregated societies of white and black, which developed in Alice Springs under the Country Liberal Party, are about to change as new links between them are established.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:20 AM | | Comments (0)
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