Vince Jones: APA project full of promise for Badimia youth

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Lisa FavazzoMidwest Times
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Badimia elder Vincent Jones
Camera IconBadimia elder Vincent Jones Credit: Lisa Favazzo/Midwest Times

A Badimia leader says his meeting with the company building a gas pipeline through his country has given him a refreshed sense of hope for the future of the region’s young people, with the project offering career opportunities on their doorstep.

Badimia Aboriginal Land Corporation chairman Vince Jones, who met with national energy infrastructure outfit APA last month, said: “(The project) will give them options in life.”

“They don’t know what they want to do (and) we could set up a program where some of the (kids) could see the set-up of the mine site.

“So they can say, ‘geez, I’d like to do this’.”

The Northern Goldfields Interconnection Project is a 580km energy infrastructure venture worth up to $460 million.

It is set to span from north of Leonora to east of Geraldton and is planned for construction next year. Mr Jones said the meeting was just a negotiation to discuss community support and job opportunities, with no final decisions made.

It will give them options in life.

- Badimia Aboriginal Land Corporation chairman Vince Jones

The Federal Court dismissed a native title claim affecting the Badimia people in 2015 — 20 years after it was lodged.

Six years later, Mr Jones is glad to see businesses approaching his people for negotiation despite the failed effort for legal recognition.

“They have to understand that, although we haven’t had native title, we still own our heritage,” he said. “They can’t take that away from us.”

An APA spokesperson said “positive, respectful and constructive relationships” were essential to the business’ dealings with all stakeholders.

“As part of this engagement, we are also discussing opportunities for employment pathways and support for important community programs in Aboriginal communities,” the spokesperson said.

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