He says many Indigenous communities are in serious trouble in terms of high unemployment and welfare dependency, and the mining industry has thrown a lifeline to Indigenous groups for many years and provided real benefits.
“The recent mining boom has been a boom for the industry and the Indigenous groups taking part in these projects. But the recent downturn has adversely affected Indigenous groups,” Mr Flucker says.
Mr Flucker says the mining downturn means it is time for the gas industry to step up, and if all industries chipped in this would help stop many Indigenous groups from heading back to a welfare-based economy.
“Indigenous people don’t want welfare, they want real jobs, and the gas industry can help this occur.
“The great thing about the gas industry is that the impact area is usually much greater than mining projects, as mining generally has a small geographical disturbance area, and the workers usually stay away from the community while at work. In mining they are pretty much contained to the mine site.
“But in gas projects they generally have a much larger disturbance area and we find our workers are dealing with other communities and landholders on a regular basis.