“Come. Sit. Listen” ‘Aunty’ Val Alberts beckoned to guests in the Gudjal language.
Miners, Chinese diplomats and local government officials were the subject of Mrs Alberts’ ‘Welcome to Country’ at the recent Lynne Decline opening ceremony at Pajingo mine south of Charters Towers.
Mrs Alberts paid her respects to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous elders and spoke of moving forward with good will towards a better understanding of the land so that, ‘we can continue to live together’.
As Gudjala elder Mrs Alberts represented five Gudjal Apical groups later saying she wanted to work with the mining industry to develop more opportunities for members of the clan group.
Pajingo pays royalties each month to the Gudjal which are administered by the native title committee to promote several portfolios including education, sport and health.
They and had high hopes to further develop the relationship said Mrs Alberts.
“… for some of us, some family groups and for some T.O. groups, employment opportunities that will benefit, maybe a couple of generations of that family group, they’ll be able to get good employment opportunities,” she said.
“And I don’t mean positions just at a very basic level, but I’d like to see more indigenous engineers, geologists, anthropologists, archeologists that are really making their way through this, maybe just this specific area.
“… the main thing that always stands out with me, the opportunities and the potential we have for employment. So wherever, however they’re operating, making the most of the opportunities that are being presented.”