Thursday, 12 August 2010

INTERVIEW: Martin Brueckner & Dyann Ross

The authors of Under Corporate Skies discuss why the felt they had to write this book.

What has been the purpose of writing for you?
Primarily, this book has been written to provide a space for the marginalised voices of residents of the town of Yarloop. We felt their story was important to be told to draw attention to the plight of this community. We also wanted to highlight the need to address in earnest questions surrounding the social and environmental sustainability of towns in the shadow of heavy industries and the roles and responsibilities of body corporates and government for the protection of the health and wellbeing of impacted communities.

The story of Yarloop is one of many stories unfolding in Australia today. Yet thus far little attention has been given to the increasingly visible trade-offs associated with industrial progress and development despite mounting social and environmental costs. Society does not seem to be counting. In sharing the Yarloop experience we hope to offer a prompt for reflection on the respective importance of people, place and profits and for a re-evaluation of the things that really matter locally and nationally. Overall, the book is meant to be a reminder of the rights and interests of the intended beneficiaries of economic development who find themselves short-changed by the development path presently taken.

What are the issues being tackled in Under Corporate Skies?
DR: The main issue is about the state-sanctioned use of power vested in a multinational corporation, which advantages the company and the government but often at the cost of the environment and many impacted people. It also appears to serve the public at large who are not required to consider this cost/benefit analysis. The book seeks to bring these dynamics out in the open and challenge relevant stakeholders to be accountable and at least to avoid blaming the community for the problem.

MB: The raft of issues covered in the book pertain to matters of social justice, regional sustainability and good governance as well as corporate social responsibility and the democratic process. It is also a story about courage and hope, which describes a community’s tenacity and perseverance in its fight for justice and accountability.

Read the full interview here:

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