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Wild ArticulationsEnvironmentalism and Indigeneity in Northern Australia$
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Timothy Neale

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824873110

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824873110.001.0001

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Wild Presents and Emergent Futures

Wild Presents and Emergent Futures

(p.174) Chapter 5 Wild Presents and Emergent Futures
Wild Articulations

Timothy Neale

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the three federal parliamentary inquiries into the Act in 2010-2011, prompted by the attempts of federal Opposition leader (and later Prime Minister) Tony Abbott to ‘overturn’ the legislation. In this context, specific evidence of forestalled development was scarce and it soon emerged that much resistance stemmed either from misinformation or poor consultation. Drawing on interviews with stakeholders, I argue that the Act’s most powerful effect was to bring different understandings of the Northern Australia’s future into contact. Offering a novel venue for stakeholders to elucidate and interrogate ‘sustainable’ economic futures, the inquiries elicited responses of two kinds: ‘hybrid futures’ of incremental changes and ‘bright futures’ of radical transformation. But if, as this chapter shows, any immediate expansion of the region’s different commercial sectors is unlikely, how should we address the present breach between expectations and experiences of commercial development? In a country where ‘Indigenous development’ has become synonymous with wage labour in the mainstream economy, the contemporary fixations of government policy continue to undermine considerations of such region’s as, in Arturo Escobar’s terms, a ‘territory of difference’ where market activity will never be dominant.

Keywords:   regional development, Jon Altman, hybrid economy, Tony Abbott, land rights

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