Undermined: Tales from The Kimberley shares political economy story

Albert Wiggan. Picture: Martin Kennealey d490933
Albert Wiggan. Picture: Martin Kennealey d490933

DOCUMENTARY Undermined: Tales from The Kimberley is an investigation into the political economy of The Kimberley, as told through the stories of the people who live there.

Through the film, community leader Albert Wiggan tells his story of going to boarding school and university in Perth.

He shares experiences of reconnecting with ‘his Country’ when he returns to the Dampier Peninsula, where he now works as a ranger and a leading expert on the endangered bilby species.

Wiggan, who co-produced the film, said he became involved with the documentary when director Nick Wrathall heard about his involvement with campaigns, such as the protest against the James Price Point gas hub.

“He approached me to try and understand a bit of background behind the State Government’s decision to close over 200 Indigenous communities and to cut the funding from those remote communities,” he said.

“At that time, there wasn’t a great deal of information for the general public to actually understand why the State Government was doing this.

“On the surface, things seemed to play into the same old rhetoric of high suicide rates, poverty, dysfunction and abuse that we, myself and other Indigenous people who live at ground zero in these communities, know too well.

“So if anybody’s more qualified to speak from that point of view it’d be us.”

Wiggan said for city people, it could be hard to appreciate what relevance these remote issues have to them.

“There’s an important message in this film that connects those two cultural blocks in regards to Indigenous communities and mainstream society.

“The film starts to dive into the holistic concept of capitalism and how multi national agendas are basically looking to shape our nation, and what does that imply for Australians in the long term.

“And for me it starts from where I live, that’s where those resources are, that’s where the wealth lies.

“For example, if Perth wants a new stadium, if the state wants to upgrade all the new roads and highways, that comes at a major cost to Indigenous people.

“They are being removed off their land and their rights and interests are being completely immobilised where they literally have no other option than to take what is being offered, or simply miss out.”

Wiggan said he hopes people walk away from the film feeling that they are a part of the journey and responsibility of preserving this beautiful, untouched region.

“Fundamentally, do we want to see what’s happened to the Pilbara through industrialisation repeat itself in one of the world’s last remaining remote wildernesses?” he said.

“I think common sense has to prevail and we as a country, as Australians, have a really great opportunity to influence our politicians to what we think is appropriate and what corporate responsibility in The Kimberley should look like well into the future.”

Undermined: Tales from The Kimberley is showing at Luna Leederville and Luna On SX.