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Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest fights to build river weirs on sacred land in WA’s Pilbara

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest fights to build river weirs on sacred land in WA’s Pilbara

An Indigenous lady has told a tribunal examining a fashion application by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest her folk can be punished spiritually within the occasion that they devise not offer protection to the Ashburton River.

Key ingredients:

  • Mr Forrest wants to build 10 weirs along the river
  • The weirs would present water for cattle and wildlife on Minderoo Station
  • Native Indigenous folk are adversarial to the proposal

Mr Forrest’s agricultural company is within the Insist Administrative Tribunal (SAT) appealing against the WA Government’s decision to refuse permission to construct 10 weirs along the Ashburton River.

Early Newspaper

Thalanyji lady Glenys Hayes told the tribunal of the river’s significance.

She referred to water snakes being “bosses” of the Ashburton River and adjoining swimming pools.

A Thalanyji woman with dark sunglasses and a blue shirt walks to court

Thalanyji lady Glenys Hayes is adversarial to Andrew Forrest’s proposed irrigation mission on the Ashburton River.(

ABC News: David Weber


“The principle boss goes up and down the river,” she acknowledged.

“Others can too.”

Water snakes ‘not a story’

Ms Hayes used to be questioned by Forrest & Forrest representative Ken Pettit, SC about varied inclinations within the realm.

He asked Ms Hayes whether or not an present weir, and the town of Onslow, had unnerved the water snake.

Wide shot of a river with eucalypts in the foreground.

The Ashburton River runs via an enviornment where the Thalanyji folk get shared native title rights on pastoral land.(

Equipped: Bill Lawrie


She acknowledged Thalanyji folk understood that fashion occurred.

“Nonetheless if sites don’t seem to be safe, they’re going to be punished spiritually,” she acknowledged.

Ms Hayes used to be asked if she agreed with an assertion that the water snake used to be a story.

“Don’t consider it to be a story,” she acknowledged.

“Or not it is some distance not a story [it’s a] dazzling story”.

Firm accepts sacred enviornment instruct

Mr Forrest’s company Tattarang had applied to construct the weirs to present water for cattle and wildlife at Minderoo station.

It has approved that the Ashburton River is a needed and sacred Aboriginal enviornment.

While its procedure would alter the waft of the river, it has argued the quantity of water affected would be a small fraction of the common annual waft.

An aerial view of the Ashburton River.

Mr Forrest’s company wants to build 10 weirs along the river.(

Equipped: Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation


The application used to be refused by the now archaic Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt.

The minister’s submission to the tribunal stated there used to be no dispute that the outcomes of the Managed Aquifer Recharge Diagram, “when considered from a non-Aboriginal standpoint, could honest be reasonably minor and most likely sure”.

The submission acknowledged it used to be not in dispute that the plan used to be likely to convey advantages, though whether or not the proponent or most folk won basically the most used to be an situation.

Nonetheless from an Aboriginal standpoint, “the Thalanyji folk look that human interference with the natural enlighten of the river will get injurious non secular outcomes upon Thalanyji nation and Thalanyji folk”.

It acknowledged nation and folk could not be separated.

Minderoo Station driveway

The corporate wants to build the weirs to water cattle and wildlife on Minderoo Station.(

ABC North West: Lucie Bell


In a commentary, the Buurabalayji Thalanyji Corporation acknowledged it supported the Minister’s decision and remained adversarial to the construction of 10 additional weirs along Mindurru (the Ashburton River).

“Our participants were custodians of this river draw for over 60,000 years, and there is a extremely low appetite to enable wound to this enviornment for the only real earnings of a neighborhood pastoralist.”

Birds flying just above the water on a river.

The irrigation procedure would alter the waft of the Ashburton River.(

Equipped: Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation


Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest fights to build river weirs on sacred land in WA’s Pilbara