Its not backed by any statistics at all regarding to Aboriginal people having money….Michael Woodley responds to Twiggy Forrest’s comments.

Cover photo courtesy Spinifex Gum

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has defended his failure to sign a native title compensation agreement with traditional owners in the Pilbara saying it could lead to an Alice Springs style “alcohol disaster”. 

The Yindjibarndi people were awarded native title with exclusive possession by the Federal Court in 2017- but  Fortescue Metals Group appealed the decision- eventually failing .

Yindjibarndi country in the Pilbara region of WA. Picture: Paul Wiles/CAAMA

Negotiations over an Indigenous Land Use agreement fell through in 2021 but Yindjibarndi  still have a native title compensation case in the Federal Court to force FMG to pay royalties for mining on their country.

Hearings will take place on country later this year.

Mr Forrest  said welfare payments as well as mining royalties had contributed to “alcohol disasters” in towns like Alice Springs.

Mr Forrest who  has some strong personal opinions  recently told media “Ending the Indigenous disparity is not done with cash, we’re not going to exacerbate opportunity without responsibility, which has caused the deep social harms, which we are witnessing today”.

He also slammed what he called “an era of cash for nothing.”  adding “I believe in real, practical action to end the savage disparity, which has grown and grown, over the period that I have been alive.”

Following text supplied FMG website.

“As a values-based business which celebrates diversity and inclusiveness, globally we are empowering thriving communities and delivering positive social and economic benefits through training, employment and business development opportunities, including for our First Nations peoples employees and partners. By empowering our people and communities, we will continue to challenge the status quo to sustain operational excellence, achieve our stretch targets, drive future success and deliver strong returns to our shareholders.”

Michael Woodley is Executive Officer of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) and the Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation (JAC), as well as being a Yindjibarndi spokesperson, Bindarra Law carrier, and community leader. His leadership has a history of more than a decade in the Yindjibarndi community, and more generally in the community of Roebourne. Prior to this Michael has undertaken training through Rio Tinto’s Aboriginal Training and Liaison (ATAL) division, and from 2002-11 took JAC from a small organisation to a thriving archiving, publishing, digital media, television broadcasting, media training, cultural consultancy, and advocacy enterprise. In 2007 Michael was appointed as CEO of YAC where his responsibilities included heritage management, policy and research services, and retaining professional legal and anthropological services as required.

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation