Protecting Country - Regina Mackenzie

"...After a very, very windy and stormy night, and still with no electricity, we drove out of Port Augusta, through Hawker, to Yappala Community, early on the morning on September 29th. The Federal Resources Minister, Matt Canavan, was expected to meet with the community but his flight had been cancelled due to the storm... Fierce winds and extremely cold weather greeted us as we got out of the car - soon tempered by the arrival of three brilliant, dynamic, and outspoken sisters: Regina, Vivienne, and Heather McKenzie. Alwyn McKenzie, Michael Anderson (ATLA), and other government representatives were also present. We quickly got a run-down of the situation by Regina McKenzie, before being ushered into a cold, dark room (no electricity there either), where the meeting was going to take place - the minister, instead of being there in person, was about to link in by phone. Vince and the McKenzie sisters proposed that I should film the meeting, and there was a consensus that I should be allowed to film, even from the minister and his staff, which I did, of course, for more than an hour. The attitude of the minister and the government, and their lack of consultation, again, revealing a very poor understanding of the importance of country for Aboriginal people. Regina explained how they had been able to secure a $50,000 grant from the State Government of South Australia to map several songlines on their traditional lands, working together with landowners on this important project, only to learn through a news bulletin that this same country had been earmarked for a low-level nuclear waste dump, with no prior consultation, and no mention of it by the landowners concerned... This footage of the meeting is riveting!

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