The Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation has spoken out about the proposed Nora Creina golf course project.
In response to today's news that the project has received approval, the corporation released a statement saying: "The First Nation Peoples of the South- East of S.A including the Meintangk and Bunganditj peoples whose territories the proposed development of Nora Creina would have a damaging impact upon have always cared for country and we say No to this destructive development.
“Kungari Aboriginal Association was established by the Tanganekald, Meintangk and Bunganditj elders in 1988 at Kingston SE. The primary objective of Kungari was then and remains, to care for country, and in particular our sacred ancestral and cultural sites. We know our ancestors managed our territories for millennia and we still carry the responsibility to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations of our peoples.
“As the ancient carers and managers of our lands it is our obligation to ensure proper management of country and we are alarmed by this proposal and its potential to impact upon and damage our coastal dune system, surface waters, underground waters, and native species dependent upon and living in the region of the proposed development. We understand that the desire to make a profit is what is driving this proposal, but we maintain that the damage that will be done to this landscape can never be recovered.
“The state has not acted in good faith when dealing with our Peoples, and has ignored, and attempted to assimilate and or roll all that is Aboriginal into the dominant paradigm of progress and development. From a First Nations perspective the time frames for the development have been rushed and are time frames which better meet the needs of the SA government and the developer.
“As a result, the regulatory system fails to understand how Aboriginal laws from ancient times remain important to human relationships to country. Indigenous philosophy centres on relational and cyclical connections to the natural world – a plan which resulted in a damaged country-side would never be allowed to proceed.
“Currently Meintangk and Bunganditj peoples have little presence or acknowledgement in decision-making processes that impact our territories. The inherent weakness of the Aboriginal Heritage Act is likely to be made weaker due to the recent proposed amendments introduced in March 2017 in the Aboriginal Heritage Bill.
“Native Title laws and Aboriginal Heritage laws of both the State and Commonwealth fail to engage with First Nations epistemologies - connections to land and law and as a result do not provide minimum standards of protection as are identified in international laws.
“It is Kungari’s view that the Laws do not fully guarantee protection of the area. They fail to note the significance of the sites and their inter-relationship with the environment, particularly the native flora and fauna. For example, how do you mitigate extensive damage of the cultural integrity of a site? How do you repair the interconnectedness of the natural world when the habitat of an endangered species has been destroyed?
“Once these coastal areas are damaged they are difficult to rehabilitate, and so much of the Australian coastline has been damaged by development. As the natural qualities of these areas are being erased so is the opportunity to educate future generations about the sacredness of the natural world. For this reason, it should be considered critical to retain their integrity and relationship with the entire landscape.
“It is difficult not to draw the cynical conclusion that the State has no intention to protect our culture and territories, and that our lands remain vulnerable when it comes to development interests. Recommendations have been ignored and this has caused us great concern regarding the future protection of a large number of sites at risk of damage. These include the sites nominated in this proposal. It is important to note that there is the potential that many other sites will be uncovered in the event of the disturbance of the area likely if construction of this proposal is commenced. A major concern is that the likelihood of burial grounds being disturbed and damaged is significant.
“If the SA government accepts the economic claims and promises of this resort proposal contributing to the wealth of the south east region without any independent cost analysis and business studies of its own, then we will live the consequences for decades to come.
“But worse than this we will no longer have the pristine natural environment which society has taken for granted. That environment will likely be lost to the future generations and more importantly to the Meintangk and Bunganditj peoples who have taken care of the land since ancient times, and moreover, they will have the task of repairing the damage.
“It is our view the proposal has not fully considered its potential impacts on the whole environment. The proposal maintains that its realisation will improve flora diversity and fauna habitats, but it’s plain that this is a contradiction - it will do the opposite. The visual images are misleading. The pictures of golf courses being laid out across dune systems and referred to as ‘low-intensity recreational use' reveals a complete lack of understanding of the environment and the relationships shared between the climate, flora and fauna and human beings. For example, lawn maintained on a sand dune is a very high-intensity development; it means the loss of the existing natural habitat, while introducing yet another set of weeds, that is, lawn grasses. The logic in this is not at all affirming of caring for country.
This proposal will not protect First Nations cultural sites such as middens and burial grounds, and such destruction cannot be replaced or compensated for by way of an educational display in the proposed Resort centre, this is because from a First Nations perspective the education is in the land, when you destroy the biodiversity in the land you destroy the possibility of learning in a proper way.”
Click here to read Nora Creina Golf Course granted development approval