Stand with ACF to hold the big polluters to account.

ACF Budget reax v4

We're touring cities and towns around Australia. Will you come?

A coal mine in Sydney's water catchment? Seriously?

Sydney’s drinking water catchments nourish life for millions of people. Can you believe there are plans to expand underground coal mining in them? 

Sydney is the only city in the world that allows longwall mining in its public water catchments. These special areas are so protected, a wandering bushwalker would cop a $44,000 fine.

Yet Wollongong Coal plans to expand the Russell Vale mine with eight new longwalls perilously close to the Cataract Reservoir, recklessly risking damage to your drinking water.

The company is seeking approval from Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the mine expansion is now open for public comment.

Greg Hunt has the power to stop this expansion and protect Sydney’s water from polluting industry. Let's tell Wollongong Coal, and the Minister, we do not support coal mining in drinking water catchments.

Will you make a public comment on Wollongong Coal's Environmental Impact Statement?

If thousands of people from NSW write to the company, they are required to summarise all of the comments and send them to the federal environment department. That's why we want you to write your own unique comments, with your own unique concerns about the risks to water and endangered species. You don't need to be an expert. Just explain why you care.

Even NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, recognised that, "the Special Areas of Sydney’s Water Catchment are the most sensitive and important areas for securing our drinking water supply.”

The Illawarra Mercury reported: "The government has acknowledged the potential for cracks to form in the riverbeds of water-storing swamps and other sensitive areas of the Cataract Dam catchment area." 

The water catchment is home to many threatened animals including the Southern Brown Bandicoot and the Giant Burrowing Frog. The mine threatens the Endangered Coastal Upland Swamps where the Giant Burrowing Frog lives.

Like us, frogs depend on water to live. 

In times of reduced rainfall, the swamps protect Sydney’s drinking water supply by storing vital water. 

"Clouds move in off the sea, hit the Illawarra escarpment and dump their rain, which then flows down into the lakes, creeks, rivers and swamps of the drinking water catchment," says local resident Kaye Osborn, who has stood up to Wollongong Coal for over 5 years with Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining.

When Kaye collected a jar of water from the creek near the existing mine to take to a public meeting, it was black.

"This catchment is part of a system supplying 4.6 million residents of Greater Sydney. The potential gains from Wollongong Coal’s mine are limited and short term. It’s not worth risking this incredible natural drinking water.”

Stand with Kaye and local residents. Make a submission against the Russell Vale mine expansion.

http://www.action.org.au/russellvale

A giant cheque, a big bird and a force for change

Just a quick note to say hello and let you know how our campaigns are travelling.

Thirteen billion dollars and no sense

52,735 of you signed a petition asking Joe Hockey to stop mining the public purse to pay big polluting companies. Seems like he’s not listening. Watch our video for Matt and Kelly’s verdict on the Federal Budget. (Spoiler: they both give it one star.)

The Renewable Energy Target is in limbo – but we’re not!

There’s talk of further undermining clean energy in Australia. Here are ten reasons why burning native forests for electricity should not be included in the RET.

But local communities love a sun-powered country and you guys are spreading the word. So far, you’ve hung 27,468 posters in cafes, noticeboards and shops – like Ellen Boyd Green at Alice’s bookshop in North Carlton!

(Sorry if you’re still waiting for posters, we had to print more – they’ll be with you soon!)

Radioactive pollution in the Karlamilyi?

We were very disappointed to hear that Minister Greg Hunt approved Cameco Corporation’s Kintyre mine in the river catchments of WA’s beautiful Karlamilyi – announced under the radar just before Anzac Day.

But Minister Hunt knows we’re watching and the locals know they are not alone. 7,310 of you wrote letters expressing your concern, and the Traditional Owners appreciated this support and thank you for speaking out. It’s not over yet.  

Meanwhile, the WA government has delisted some of the world's oldest rock art and the beautiful James Prices Point peninsula. The federal and state governments are failing – but our resolve is not. Stay tuned.

Why did the cassowary cross the road?

Because its habitat has been chopped in half by a freeway. So far this year, more cassowaries have died from speeding cars, dog attacks and habitat loss than in all of 2014.  

While local groups are doing great work to protect these gorgeous creatures, governments need to catch up! We need to transform our national nature protection framework so local, state and national laws work in together to protect life in Australia.

Photo: Paul IJsendoorn

Don’t let them silence you – speak out!

Powerful lobby groups and a handful of politicians are trying to remove the charity status of environment groups, your ability to give tax deductible donations and your freedom to speak out. Submissions close on Thursday 21 May. Please – make a submission today.

Photo: Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Southwest Tasmania.
Photograph by Peter Dombrovskis, copyright Liz Dombrovskis

Count Me in!

It was wonderful to meet so many of you at our Count me in! tour, in towns and cities across Australia. Next up, Kelly and our campaigners are heading to the Blue Mountains (20 May), Sydney (21 May) and Hobart (28 May). Will you join us?

Together we're making the case that change for the better is necessary, possible and achievable. 

Don't let them silence you – speak out!

Fuelled by the Minerals Council of Australia and the Institute of Public Affairs, a handful of politicians are attacking civil society. They want to revoke the charity status of environment groups, remove our ability to receive tax deductible donations and curtail your freedom to speak out.

We ask all governments and all political parties to make better choices for the environment. I’m proud of that.

Sometimes our questions are inconvenient, but they’re essential. Because people who care speak out, kids can snorkel the Reef with no oil rigs. The Franklin River flows. Fish and birds are returning to Murray floodplains. Our cars don’t run on leaded petrol. Our air is cleaner and our cities greener. Australians value these things.

We have until next Thursday 21 May to make submissions to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment inquiry into environmental organisations.

The way the inquiry’s terms of reference are worded, it sounds like planting trees is okay, but asking a company or the government to stop clearfelling old-growth forest is not. Picking up rubbish is okay, but asking companies to stop polluting is not. It doesn’t make sense.

Will you make a submission to the inquiry? We’ve given you a template submission to get started – you can make it more powerful by rewriting it in your own words.  Don’t be silenced. Please make a submission today.

Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Southwest Tasmania. Photograph by Peter Dombrovskis, copyright Liz Dombrovskis

We know protecting the environment has broad public support, and with your help, we can prove it. If thousands of ACF supporters make submissions, and all our allies do the same, the groundswell of people who care will show just how marginal this idea is.

Like many non-government organisations in civil society, 90% of ACF’s funding comes from donations from people like you. You trust us to spend that money in service of our purpose – protecting the environment. You trust us to make strategic decisions about what is really needed to achieve this goal.

With your help, ACF revealed the Prime Minister’s bid to de-list Tassie forests World Heritage status. We exposed Australia’s top ten biggest polluters and their political donations. We’re challenging leaders to make better choices.

Make a submission to the inquiry before the deadline next week.

The inquiry challenges advocacy. Environmental advocacy simply means influencing decision-making to protect life and the people, plants and animals that are part of it. This may mean generating public awareness, encouraging our members to participate in democracy and calling for better laws. 

Advocacy tackles the big things – it paves the way for large-scale systemic change. It creates the funding and policies that enable hands-on nature conservation work. It is not unlawful or inconsistent with being a charity. Australia’s High Court clearly supported this argument. Protecting the environment is soundly based in charitable law.

The inquiry is starting with small environment groups, but the push threatens larger groups like ACF, the whole environment movement, and all of civil society. Coalition MP George Christensen, the member for Dawson in north Queensland, called this process “cleansing.” 

Civil society organisations like ACF amplify the voices of our members and those who can’t speak out. Democracy is as strong and vibrant as we make it. Normally, we ask you to speak out for the environment. Today, you can speak out for your ability to speak out.

Will you make it clear you don't support attacks on environmental organisations?

REFERENCES:

Joan Staples, Step by step, conservative forces move to silence NGOs' voicesThe Conversation

Peter Burdon, Government inquiry takes aim at green charities that “get politicalThe Conversation

Mike Seccombe, Brandis ties NGO funding to non-advocacy The Saturday Paper

Liberal MP moves to strip charity status from some environmental groupsABC News

Government MP steps up campaign against eco-charity tax concessionsABC News