Adani Carmichael mine welcomed by Aboriginal elder
AN Aboriginal elder backing the Adani Carmichael mine and rail project says the massive undertaking will bring prosperity to indigenous people across north and central Queensland.
Colin McLennan, of the Jangga people, believes the vast majority of traditional landowners support the $16billion project.
His comments were supported by Irene Leard, an education, training and employment advocate, who works with and negotiates on behalf of the Jangga people.
The Jangga people - about 3500 strong - have native title rights to 23,000 square kilometres in hundreds of parcels of land in the Mount Coolon area.
As an example of the developing relationship between Adani and the Jangga, Mr McLennan said a rail line proposed to run through his people's land has been moved four times to better accommodate the traditional owners.
And Adani has guaranteed 7.5% of all jobs created by the mine project and 10% of apprenticeships and traineeships will be filled by indigenous people, according to Ms Leard.
Mr McLennan said he's pleased with the way Adani has treated his people so far and he asked for environmental activists to give the Indian multinational a chance before condemning the project.
"You hear a lot of (negative) stories. I'm not inclined to be that way," he said.
"We've got people in other states looking for stories from people, greenies, who just don't want this to happen at all.
"But there'll be opportunities for so many people, particularly when it comes to work. And it can't come soon enough, a lot of people are out of work.
"It gives our people something to look forward to, to aspire to. The young ones have lost a lot of opportunities and they'll be able to get into work and hopefully have good jobs for years to come."
Ms Leard and Mr McLennan described the employment opportunities the Adani project will bring as "life-changing".
"Why shouldn't they (traditional land owners) have the opportunity to support their family? That will cut down on welfare and other issues," Ms Leard said.
"And it's not all about working on the rail or in the mine. There's quarries on the land, camps, clearing, catering - so many offshoot positions.
Ms Leard said she thought "activists should be sitting down with traditional owners of the corridor and figuring out what it's all about for them".
The proposed Adani Carmichael mine has received strong criticism from activist groups, regarding environmental concerns and doubt over the number of jobs it will create directly and indirectly.