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Development, Cultural Maintenance and Traditional Owners: The LNG Development Proposal at James Price Point in the Kimberley

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Abstract:

Deep divisions have surfaced amongst Indigenous communities over the proposal to establish a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) precinct in the Kimberley, 60 km north of Broome. While ‘cultural survival’ underpins the argument put forward by both Indigenous supporters and critics of this development proposal, they appear to have opted for very different paths. A key question is: how do Indigenous people negotiate agreements with the State and mining companies in such a way as to maintain their distinct cultural understandings of themselves and accumulate adequate financial resources to safeguard their cultural survival? This paper examines the experiences of more recent native title settlements to see how they relate to the Kimberley LNG development discourses; interprets sample texts in relation to cultural maintenance within the prevailing dominant Western economic social system; and finally, raise questions about the challenges ahead for traditional owners.

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