Borroloola Community Statement to Northern Land Council in Regards to FIFO Mining Company Movements Around NT Aboriginal Land, Native Title Land and Communities
We, the community of Borroloola, are worried about the risks of mining FIFO workers flying in and out of our country without being tested or isolated for COVID- 19.
We would like all fly in, fly out mining movements to stop. We are worried about our old people. We want mining to be classed as “non-essential” and no exemptions given. It is possible that mining workers will spread the virus when they come into NT communities, shops, clinics and other essential services that remote community members also visit. We don’t want mining companies getting special treatment at the expense of our health. We want our communities to be properly locked down.
We have witnesses seeing mining workers being flown out sick in isolation. We need to know what’s going on around Borroloola with outsiders flying in and out.
We are worried because we have a traumatic history of outsiders bringing in sickness that killed our old people in Borroloola. In 1968-9, the Hong Kong Influenza (H3N2) killed around 60 old people from our area. We want to preserve our old people we have now so we can preserve our ancient knowledge and culture as its important for them to pass it on to the next generation. Our people have a lot of chronic illnesses and we are very at risk from this virus.
FIFO workers will be worried about their own families like we are worried about ours. They need to be in isolation at home within their own states and countries.
We want all fracking to stop. We already have enough troubles to deal with. The Chief Minister of the NT needs to stop pumping out money into mining companies, and start putting it back into our local clinics to look after our peoples’ health in community.
We are requesting NLC to not approve any permits to mining companies until this virus is no longer a threat to remote Aboriginal communities. We are asking that the NLC does not co-sponsor any request from mining companies to be exempt from having to self-isolate when entering the NT.