Responding to disadvantage
Just two generations ago unprecedented change arrived: the Jabiru township, the Ranger uranium mine, the largest National Park in Australia with World Heritage status and all the attendant machinery of administration and governance – along with the profound threat of the Jabiluka proposal. This created enormous and traumatic upheaval for Mirarr and others local people with serious negative consequences. In general GAC's view is that the development of Ranger uranium mine has left local Aboriginal people no better and some cases worse off than other places in the Northern Territory
After three decades the problems created by Jabiru, Ranger mine and the Jabiluka proposal are only now being comprehensively engaged with. Sound financial management and wise use and investment of income are of paramount concern and importance for the Board of GAC.
In 2007, GAC collaborated closely with a consultancy that reported on cultural and economic factors affecting Aboriginal people in the region. The report, Cultural and Conservation Economy Model for Indigenous and Rural Northern Australia made a number of pertinent observations concerning Mirarr:
Mirarr have clear long term objectives about their future and understand what the current problems are – but solutions are less clear. Disempowerment is a significant issue in the face of what can appear to be overwhelming problems.
Only since 2008 has the GAC has been able to focus on developing long term economic and financial strategies to ensure long-term economic well-being of Mirarr – beyond uranium mining.