Country, Culture, People, Future

July 2018

AEMO estimates flawed as solar costs decline

Posted: July 18th, 2018

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MEDIA STATEMENT: Wednesday, 18 July 2018 

Pilbara Solar, a 25 per cent Aboriginal owned renewable energy company, has questioned a national report on Australia’s energy future after it failed to recognise WA’s solar rich regions.

Yesterday’s report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the nation’s independent energy market operator, to COAG, stated that ageing coal-fired power plants would still deliver the cheapest electricity for the next 20 years.

Pilbara Solar Director, and renewable energy developer, Richard Finlay-Jones, said the report did not recognise regions like the Pilbara which had one of the greatest solar resources in the world, and was one of the most energy intensive locations in the country.

“WA is the most solar rich state in the nation, and, with the right support from all levels of government, the Pilbara has the potential to become a 100 per cent renewable Zero Emissions Zone within a decade,” Dr Finlay-Jones said.

Dr Finlay-Jones said current investment in renewable energy had never been stronger in Australia, and the power source never cheaper, with states with the largest targets demonstrating the greatest investment benefits, and the cheapest power.

“Renewable energy deployment had been driving down the wholesale price of power, and wind and solar energy is now cheaper than coal and diesel,” Dr Finlay-Jones said.

“The AEMO report to COAG actually states that Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates about 90 per cent of the $88bn forecast spent on adding power capacity in Australia will be outlaid on clean energy.

“It is imperative that regions like the Pilbara are recognised among the greatest solar resources in the world.”

Pilbara Solar is 25 per cent owned by the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), which YMAC Chief Executive, Simon Hawkins, said represented Traditional Owners whose lands covered one million square kilometres in WA with some of the best solar resources in the world.

Read the media statement here: AEMO estimates flawed

Yule River Meeting Outcomes 2018

Posted: July 16th, 2018

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The 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River was another extraordinary gathering bringing together more than 400 Traditional Owners from across the Pilbara to discuss issues affecting them and their families. The meeting endorsed Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (PAV), the remarkable group borne out of the 4th meeting in 2017. PAV has made significant progress working together to address issues including language preservation, remote housing, the protection of Aboriginal heritage, Constitutional Recognition, health, education, justice, and the welfare of children. This year, the 40-strong group welcomed more than 20 new members, and was officially endorsed and recognised by both Federal and State Aboriginal Affairs Ministers Ben Wyatt and Senator Nigel Scullion and others. PAV was acknowledged as an historic union of language groups working as one voice to call on all levels of government to improve living conditions for Aboriginal West Australians. Today and every day, we recognise Aboriginal Elder, our Deputy Co-Chairperson, Mrs Doris Eaton, for her ongoing inspirational leadership, and great vision for the Pilbara, our Aboriginal Directors, and our dedicated YMAC staff, for their contributions to the Yule River meeting. For more information about Yule River meetings and their history, please see

To view selected photos from the event, please see: Yule River 2018




5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River next week

Posted: July 6th, 2018

MEDIA STATEMENT: Friday, 6 July 2018

The 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River on 11 and 12 July will once again bring together Traditional Owners from across Western Australia to discuss the issues that affect them and their families.

Day One supports Traditional Owners in their cultural decision-making to develop solution-based responses to issues, and will conclude with a celebration of custom and culture including traditional singing and dancing performed by a variety of Aboriginal community groups. Senator Nigel Scullion, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, has registered his attendance on Day 1.

Day Two welcomes decision-makers and influencers to witness the resolutions passed by the community, with Federal Senators Pat Dodson and Sue Lines registering their attendance, as well as State Government Ministers Ben Wyatt (Aboriginal Affairs) and Alannah MacTiernan (Regional Development), and member for Pilbara Kevin Michel, member for Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple, and Member for Warren Blackwood Terry Redman (Nationals spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs).

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) Chief Executive Simon Hawkins said Yule River highlighted the positive accomplishments and contributions being made by Traditional Owners across the State, with last year’s event attracting more than 400 people.

“This is a forum for Traditional Owners, politicians, and bureaucrats to meet, to discuss key issues,” Mr Hawkins said.

“The event represents a significant opportunity for revitalising trust, relationship-building and providing a platform for authentic engagement, and YMAC is proud to facilitate the annual meeting for the benefit of Traditional Owners across the State.”

At the 2017 Yule River meeting, Traditional Owners passed three resolutions:

  • The historic formation of an Independent Representative Group to give advice to governments on behalf of Aboriginal Pilbara people.
  • The establishment of key issues: language preservation; improve education in the Pilbara; improve health services – mental, renal and men’s health; support of a treaty with the State Government; improved housing services for Aboriginal Pilbara people; oppose the Cashless Welfare Card; and Aboriginal heritage protection.
  • Support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Constitutional Recognition and Federal Government Treaty.

“The 2018 meeting will look at the progress of these resolutions, and the need for others,“ Mr Hawkins said.

“Other issues on the agenda include the expiry of the Commonwealth and State Governments’ National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing on 30 June 2018 which has left residents of remote communities across WA facing deep uncertainty over their future.

“There is also outstanding the 2016 Yule River call for an independent inquiry into the State Government’s handling of Aboriginal heritage sites across the Pilbara.”

YMAC will also welcome the Hedland Aboriginal Strong Leaders (HASL) who are proud to be presenting the 2018 Port Hedland NAIDOC Awards at 1pm on Day Two. Raylene Button, HASL Co-chair, has thanked the Julyardi Aboriginal Corporation and Pilbara Development Commission for their support, with 15 awards to be presented including Elders of the Year, Artists of the Year, and Reconciliation awards.


MEDIA ATTENDANCE: All members of the media are invited to attend the Yule River meeting from 2pm on Day One – Wednesday 11 July 2018, including the opportunity to camp overnight, and attend 9.30am – 4pm Day Two – Thursday 12 July 2018.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jane Grljusich, Communications Manager, 0427 463 796,



Meetings held at Yule River are historic, and have been organised by Aboriginal people in the vast Pilbara region for decades.

The dry river bed off the North West Coastal Highway, just south of Port Hedland, is seen as a place where people from different language groups can come together to discuss common issues affecting Aboriginal communities across the region.

Stemming from the actions taken in the lead up to the 1946 Pilbara Strike, when Aboriginal people held secret meetings in remote bush locations to plan an ambitious three-year walk off by Aboriginal pastoral workers who were living on cattle stations in conditions of virtual slavery, Pilbara Aboriginal people continued in their efforts to advocate for improved conditions and outcomes by organising bush meetings.

During the land rights era, from the late-1970s, Yule River became the focal point for such gatherings which were often attended by up to 2,000 Aboriginal people from all over the Pilbara.

At this time, “Old Man Parker” (born Herbert), was the Pilbara representative for the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee, the first national body elected by Aboriginal people, and introduced by the Whitlam Government.

Mr Parker presided over these meetings on the river’s sandy banks as Aboriginal people from all over the Pilbara region gathered to talk about lands trust business, housing complaints, and land rights.

Many important initiatives have been borne from Yule River meetings, with both concerns and solutions coming directly from Pilbara Aboriginal people; and with government expected to attend to hear and address their concerns.

Through the efforts of then YMAC Co-Chairperson, Mrs Doris Eaton (whose father was a key player in the 1946 Pilbara Strike), and the YMAC Pilbara Regional Committee, the Yule River meetings recommenced in 2014.

All language groups from across the region are invited to attend these meetings and share their concerns.

Much like they were decades ago, gatherings at Yule River are an important opportunity for a diverse range of Aboriginal voices to be heard.


To view all of our Media Statements, please click here

Donny Wilson, YMAC Regional Manager Pilbara, promotes Yule River on CAAMA Radio

Posted: July 5th, 2018

Donny Wilson, YMAC Regional Manager (Pilbara) was interviewed by CAAMA radio about the 2018 Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River meeting place. He describes the purpose and structure of the Yule River event, and mentions the special guests from State and Federal government. This interview has raised awareness of the work of YMAC to a new audience.

Listen to the interview here: Donny Wilson on CAAMA Radio

About CAAMA Radio

CAAMA began operations in 1980 and was the first Aboriginal organisation to be allocated a broadcasting license. CAAMA serves the Aboriginal people of Central Australia through a network of 11 regional radio stations in the Northern Territory. Its  focus is on the social, cultural and economic advancement of Aboriginal peoples. CAAMA promotes and shares Aboriginal culture, language, dance, and music while generating economic and social benefits in the form of training, employment and income generation.

Natalie Parker, YMAC Director and Co-chair Pilbara, invites Prime Minister to Yule River

Posted: July 5th, 2018

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Natalie Parker, YMAC Director and Co-chair Pilbara, was interviewed by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) today. She spoke about the community’s concerns for the future of remote housing in WA; due to the lack of a funding agreement between the State and Federal governments. Mrs Parker invited the Premier and Prime Minister to the Yule River bush meeting to address the community’s concerns.

Listen to the interview here: Natalie Parker CAAMA Radio Interview

About CAAMA Radio

CAAMA began operations in 1980 and was the first Aboriginal organisation to be allocated a broadcasting license. CAAMA serves the Aboriginal people of Central Australia through a network of 11 regional radio stations in the Northern Territory. Its  focus is on the social, cultural and economic advancement of Aboriginal peoples. CAAMA promotes and shares Aboriginal culture, language, dance, and music while generating economic and social benefits in the form of training, employment and income generation.

Dont’ Walk Away – Remote communities call on State and Feds to step up at Yule River

Posted: July 2nd, 2018

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MEDIA STATEMENT: Monday, 2 July 2018

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) Co-chairperson, and Nyiyaparli (central Pilbara region) woman, Natalie Parker, has called on the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to attend the 5th Annual Yule River On-Country Bush Meeting next week.

Last week, YMAC asked the State Government to release details of its plans to manage funding of remote Aboriginal communities into the future, with its 50-year funding agreement with the Federal Government expiring on Saturday (30 June).

The State Government responded on Friday by launching an eleventh hour national public campaign to pressure the Federal Government to “not abandon 165 remote communities in Western Australia”.

The State Government said its ‘Don’t Walk Away’ campaign would feature online and print media advertising, and promote a website with a call to action for people concerned about the plight of the almost 12,000 people living in remote communities across WA.

“Both the State and the Federal Government need to step up at Yule River on 11 and 12 July and let people from remote Aboriginal communities know what is happening,” Ms Parker said.

“Aboriginal people across WA, including in my community at Youngaleena, are looking over their shoulders, and face the trauma of being forced off their Country again.

“It is 2018, and all Australians, and people around the world know, that forcing Aboriginal people off their Country causes irreparable long-term trauma, social issues, degradation of land and culture, and is totally unacceptable.”

YMAC Chief Executive Simon Hawkins said both governments should demonstrate respect for the health, wellbeing and safety of all Aboriginal people living remotely in WA, by bringing a sustainable plan to fund remote communities to Yule River.

“YMAC understands the deep cultural and spiritual value that living on Country holds for many Traditional Owners; allowing them to practice traditional Law and customs as recognised under their native title determinations,” Mr Hawkins said.

The full media release can also be found here: Don’t Walk Away – Step Up

Media Contact: Jane Grljusich, Communications Manager, 0427 463 796,