Kakadu is in northern Australia

Kakadu is in northern Australia, 3000km from Sydney, it is on the north coast. It is south of Indonesia, 250km from Darwin. Kakadu is considered remote because most major cities are located in South East Australia, e.g. Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, or the South West Coast e.g. Perth.2) Uranium Mining is one of the most important exports from Australia, it is important because it amounts to $500 million per year to Australia in exports, in the five years to mid 2005, Australia exported 46600 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate with a value of over $2.1 billion,It provides power to Japan, USA, UK and France, it is 30% of Japans electricity, 21% of Usa’s energy, 20% of the UK’s and 77% of France’s energy,This type of power is becoming vital as the worlds fossil fuel reserves are running out. Australia is a very important country in the debate because these countries rely on Australia to get hold of uranium, it holds 30% of the world’s uranium and with increasing demand, the prices will rise. This means the mines in Kakadu will too become increasingly important as it has uranium reserves worth and estimated $12 billion dollars over the next 25 years, if it were not to be sold; it is an estimated 94000 tonnes of uranium in Kakadu, which is enough to generate 20 times Australia’s current usage needs, this means whether they export it or not, the Australian government are in a strong position as fossil fuel reserves run out.The advantages of exploiting mineral resources in Kakadu are that it brings a large income to the government and the Aborigines. The Aboriginals receive 4.25% of all the royalties from the mining companies in Kakadu. Which has totalled to $207 million since mining began in 1981. Also it has a better impact on the environment then the burning of fossil fuels does. However, as Aboriginals lead quite simple lives, they are not interested in what money brings them as their culture relies on them using nature to supply and feed them. Furthermore they have been pushed aside by the government when mining companies have been allowed to enter their land and destroy the earth, which is considered a great sin to the Aboriginal people.Kakadu is unique in the tourism industry as it offers many different types of habitats and scenery, woodland, grassy flood plains, wetland, rainforests and sandstone country. It has some of the oldest cave art in the world; it is one of few places to be a world heritage site for cultural and natural reasons. What comes with tourists is money, which will eventually make its way to the national economy of Australia. However, an increase in tourists means that there will be some substantial environmental impact.For e.g. ‘Honeypot’ sites will no doubt attract the most tourists, but a large amount of visitors could mean the site to be at risk from, litter, vehicles can damage dirt roads or create damage off road. Tourists do not always respect the local aboriginal sacred sites and traditions. Tourists could damage wildlife and plant life by walking off the permitted path, or killing endangered insects as they see them as a potential threat. With 170000 visitors in 2004, it is an important factor to consider in any decisions about the area.These Aborigines have lived in the Kakadu area for thousands of years, before the first white man stepped foot in Australia. So is it fair to just intrude and disturb their way of life? I think not. The Aborigines don’t believe in exploiting the land as they believe it to be sacred and to destroy it would be a sin. They are not happy with the way many companies and tourists have just invaded their homes, they gain little to nothing from this as they’re not interested in money or anything else they have to offer, they just want their rightful land to be left alone and preserved in its natural state. Since white people encountered the Aborigines, their numbers have dropped to less than 500 in the Kakadu area.Aboriginal leaders don’t want to lose their rights and their culture as modernisation steps into their lives. One spoke against the royalties given stating that ‘I think you would find the benefits of mining for our people have been minimal, if anything at all.’ However some Aboriginals have become modernised and use the money given to their benefit, e.g. to fund healthcare, education and housing. Although not a huge part of the Aboriginals do this, the numbers are certainly growing.

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