Informit article: The real cost of closing remote communities

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Western Australia has been in the midst of an economic boom fuelled by industries based on resource extraction, a boom that may now be busting. Alongside this giant, a quieter economic engine based on resource extraction chugs along: the customary sector of local Aboriginal economies. While the former is largely responsible for Australia’s recent economic prosperity, the latter either goes unnoticed or is dismissed as a ‘lifestyle choice’. However, only one of these economic sectors is truly viable in the long term. Mining operations wreak environmental havoc to extract and process non-renewable resources; traditional Aboriginal economies provide valuable ecosystems services in the process of sustainably harvesting renewable resources. Here we examine these parallel economic sectors as they operate within the remote Aboriginal community of Parnngurr in the Martu lands, held under exclusive native title determination. Martu call this region their home, with vast estates spanning east from the Pilbara to the Percival Lakes and south from the Kimberley to around Lake Disappointment.

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