Tracking Onslow: Journalists recording impact over time
Society for Cultural Anthropology
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Arts and Humanities
There are competing narratives in the Australian public sphere about mineral extraction. Keen on royalties, the current pro-extraction conservative state and federal governments argue that extraction boosts employment and provides trickle-down financial benefits to local businesses and communities. However, a left-wing think tank, the Australia Institute, has questioned the mathematics and modeling behind these claims (Richardson 2009; Campbell 2014), even as left-wing parties have argued that extraction companies should pay more taxes (Brown, Clout, and Ferguson 2015). In response, extraction companies have invested in securing a social license to operate by funding social projects in host communities, such as Onslow, and in associated population centers, such as Western Austalia’s capital city of Perth (Krzywosinski 2014). Anti-extraction arguments are most often voiced by scientists and activists from places other than the host communities, and traditionally center on concern for the environment.