"We don't want oil or gas mining in our country,” Aboriginal traditional owner Eddie Mason, based in Maningrida, a community in eastern Arnhem Land, told a rally in Sydney on July 19. “We are protecting our land and sea rights."
About 100 people rallied with visiting Arnhem Land residents outside the offices of US-based oil exploration company Paltar Petroleum.
"We are saying no to Paltar,” Mason said. “We don't want exploration destroying our land and waters. You are welcome to visit our country, but don't destroy it.
"Paltar stay away: Leave us alone to practice our culture, as we have for the last 40,000 years."
Alice Eather Williams, a young traditional owner from Maningrida, said: "We are spiritually connected to the land and water in our country. The Aboriginal elders were shocked and angry to find out about Paltar's plans for drilling in our area.
"We don't want fracking of our soil for gas mining; we don't want pollution of the land and sea by these big companies.
"We're going to keep standing up: No to oil and gas exploration in our country!"