Tiwi Islands – Northern Territory

Crikey – 4 October 2007

Posted by laurenmellor83 on October 8, 2007

3. Praise the woodchips and pass the backpackers

Darwin insider Henri Ivrey writes:Australia’s largest promoter of forestry-based Managed Investment Schemes—Great Southern Plantations—has been using unskilled foreign backpackers to carry out land clearing operations in sensitive savannah forests on Melville Island. According to the ABC’s Background Briefing, Great Southern is now facing prosecution by Commonwealth authorities over substantial breaches of federal environmental conditions on its wood chipping operation. The breaches include failure to comply with the 11 conditions former federal environment minister Robert Hill imposed on the project.In the ABC program, Great Southern blames “mapping technology” to explain why it bulldozed sensitive buffer zones approaching rain forest pockets.

A backpacker’s travel blog suggests otherwise.Writing his travel diary (see among others here), Birmingham lad Niki Maguire recounts his employment as an unskilled “land evaluation officer” by Great Southern Plantations for six months this year, after arriving in Darwin with only “$15 to my name”. He obviously had the time of his life, but in recounting his traveller’s tales, he reveals an approach to managing the Tiwi traditional lands that don’t meet the company’s rhetoric. From the last day of March:Hey guys! Well its finally Happened. The reason i flew into the Northern Territory has worked out for me and I have landed a job on Melville island a hundred times better than I thought I would have! There was me thinking I’d be doing the typical Planting and picking of fruit that most backpackers do but instead I have taken a step up the ladder and onto the steps of Agricultural Planning. I’m top of the food Chain Baby mooooooooooooohahahahaha xXx

An ecstatic Niki goes on:… the week started out with the basic sorting of sites we would visit for the week as possibilities only due to excessive rainfall on the island! … The Monday and Tuesday were a little bit bit different for me! Usually, as I’m not qualified I get to go out with Rob and make a few decisions based on wether the ground or the routes for the walk are good enough for the day but the Monday in question I was as good as in charge! I went out with a guy called Chris who knows what he’s doing but is as new to it as me (but with Qualifications). So off we go in the Troopy (jeep) to this site up in the middle of the island called Andra 12 where we were to walk the typical 10km in search of rainforest through the creeks!! The day went great and I got to make the route decisions which is cool as I’ve only been here 14 days working! … The second day was pretty much the same going back to the same site but this time with Rob I guess to check how we had got on!! On our say so from the day before we had almost as good as rejected the block but we needed official checking! OOOOoh and we got it!! My first Rejection … and let me tell you it doesn’t happen often hahah i wish!!Read the full story on our website

from crikeys daily email


One Response to “Crikey – 4 October 2007”

  1. tiwiccbb said

    Poor Nikkki… Maybe Great Southern don’t like you no more… No backpackers planting at the special “a 184 acres Maxwell Creek”? , where soon with funding via the ABA and thru the Nguiu TO’s payment for leasing Nguiu for 99 years, 6 Tiwi people will be funded to “help plant” the 184 acres of noxious plantation for Great Southern. Please see below…

    Tiwi elders, plantation company sign jobs deal

    Posted Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:46pm AEDT

    An organisation has been set up on the Tiwi Islands to help line Indigenous workers up with jobs on the island’s timber plantations.

    A memorandum of understanding was today signed between Tiwi Island elders and Great Southern Plantations to place local workers in planting jobs on the company’s acacia plantations.

    In the first stage, six workers will come from Pirlangimpi on Melville Island to help plant a 184 acres at Maxwell Creek.

    Great Southern says in the past backpackers were brought over from Darwin to do the work, but it’s hoped in time Tiwi Islanders will fully replace them.

    Tiwi Enterprises has partly been setup using money paid to traditional owners of Nguiu on Bathurst Island for signing a 99-year lease agreement.

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