The Gomeroi Nation puts the Australian and New South Wales governments on notice that as our people have not been respected and their rights to country recognised, we are saying “no” to a gas invasion of our Country.
We walk with our ancestors every day, as the earth is our body and the water is our blood, and the trees and rocks are our brothers and sisters. This is very different to how you may see it, but we have the knowledge to heal this Country.
We as a Nation have not been consulted by any authority with respect to gas in our Country, instead promises have been made to a few. The consultation process for mining across the country is broken: therefore we say no consent has been given, just like no consent was given to take our land away 200 years ago.
Gomeroi people are not happy with the decisions by [federal environment minister] Sussan Ley or the NSW Independent Planning Commission, as we will not be bullied into accepting any long-term harm to precious waters and fauna and flora.
The Pilliga is our sacred place: it has all of our knowledge, our dreaming, food and resources. The guardian of the forest tells us those who break the rules are not welcome and will not prosper.
Our Nation is stirring at the plans to open all Gomeroi Country to gas and demand their say.
If the government Native Title agency continues to stall on setting a date for a Nation Meeting on this issue, then we will call our own meeting, and this will happen soon.
Then all Gomeroi and all First Nation groups across Australia can unite in their defiance of this latest wave of colonial theft of our Country.
COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult for our people to meet and discuss this issue. But we will not be silenced.
Gomeroi Traditional Owners will commence actions to demand a “fair go” in Canberra next week and will remind our politicians not to be pawns for selfish multinationals.
This is our Country, this is your Country; let’s be smart and start to respect each other and to look after what we were given and what we will hand down to future generations.
Maria “Polly” Cutmore.
[Native Title Applicant and Gomeroi Nation Traditional Owner Maria 'Polly' Cutmore released this statement on November 26.]