BY FRANKLIN KOLMA
A report furnished by an Australian humanitarian group has just been released detailing the many other ways that Bougainville could prosper post independence.
Compiled by a handful of dedicated researchers and community workers attached to Jubilee Australia, the report titled, “Growing Bougainville’s Future: Choices for an Island and its People” examines the choices facing the people of Bougainville and asks the question ‘to mine or not to mine’?
The report brings out the unspoken notion among the Bougainville populace that large-scale mining is the only developmental path for small soon to be independent island nation. It covers the positives of mining, but focuses on findings of alternative economic strategies other than extractive endeavors.
Furthermore, it reflects on the possibilities and realities of an extractives-led development path for Bougainville and examines the availability of an alternative path concluding that alternatives to large-scale mining do exist and that many Bougainvilleans are already participating in and developing these alternatives.
‘’Properly supported, innovative approaches that build on what is already done have the potential to support inclusive economic growth in Bougainville and with it increase government revenues.”
“The reliance on extractive industry and mining particularly relating to the Panguna Mine is something that we hope this report will help to alleviate Bougainvilleans’ mindsets from,” said Ms Hill.
The report identifies findings like that of land being of central importance to Bougainvilleans that must be considered in all decision making.
Also highlighted in the document are findings that agriculture is the single most important source of livelihood and food that if encouraged and developed could prove to have economically transformative potential.
Furthermore, the report is being published along with a short film titled, ‘Bougainville: Long Han Blong Yumi’. The film specifically made for Bougainvillean audiences exploring many of the same issues explored in the report.