The Kimberley: Western Australian Aborigines Split Over Gas Plant

"We've discussed this many times over coffee and beers. It's a hot topic in this nation. What is the answer? There is no single answer, but it's definitely not handing them truckloads of money and saying 'Here you go, build a school, build a hospital.' This nation has to have a good look at itself and look deep into its soul and say, 'Where are we going with our traditional wonders?' I'm embarrassed sometimes to be an Australian. In fact sometimes I'm disgusted to be an Australian, given the way we treat our traditional wonders.

"Their argument is we're doing this with a heavy heart. We're doing this because the government has failed us, and this is our way to get enough money to take care of ourselves. But don't you think that's wrong? ...Should it be passed on to private enterprise to look after a huge social problem? Isn't that the role of government, isn't that why we vote governments in? ... It's time for change."

The stakes couldn't be higher: the future of the Kimberley and of an ancient, embattled culture.

"You can see the country now," said Oombaguy. "Nobody's here. ... All the people who used to live along the coast. We're just losing it. Losing it.

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