Righting past wrongs

This morning on Cape York, I just witnessed something I’ll never forget.

After over a century locked out of their ancestral homelands, and decades struggling to get it back — today, the Olkola people of Cape York saw 633,630 hectares of land returned to them.

Included in the handover is a new national park set to protect over 250,000 hectares of natural and cultural heritage, including ancient bora-grounds and rock art, the critically endangered golden-shouldered parrot and vital water catchments at the top of the Great Dividing Range.

Read the incredible story of how it happened.

https://acf.exposure.co/olkola-handover

Andrew Picone, ACF's northern Australia program officer (left) and Mike Ross, Olkola Elder and chairman Olkola Aboriginal Corporation (right)

I’ve had the privilege of working with the Olkola people and being invited on to country. I’m lucky to see, feel and experience land management on the Cape firsthand — made all the more remarkable by the generous sharing of knowledge and insight.

This handover means the Olkola can return to country, care for it, and pass their knowledge on to younger generations.

The Olkola imagine a future that respects the traditions of their ancestors, where caring for country means it can support generations to come. Combining traditional knowledge and the latest science and technology, their vision is to create economic initiatives that protect the land, not degrade it.

See their vision for the future.

I’m proud to support the Olkola in making their vision a reality and I look forward to sharing their journey with you.

Cheers,

Andrew

Andrew Picone
Northern Australia Program Officer
Australian Conservation Foundation

Undermining Kakadu?

For over two decades I’ve watched as radioactive leaks, spills and security breaches have plagued the Ranger Uranium Mine in Kakadu. And for years I’ve worked alongside local communities to shut it down, clean it up and build a future free from radioactive risk.

So, I was heartened when I heard the mine would close by 2021, with the site rehabilitated and added to the surrounding World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

But instead of cleaning up, Energy Resources Australia (ERA) — majority-owned by British mining giant Rio Tinto — wants to open a huge, new underground uranium mine that puts at risk workers, local communities and our beautiful Kakadu.

Right now the environmental impact statement for the so called Ranger 3 Deeps project is open for public comment. Will you tell Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt why a new uranium mine in the middle of a World Heritage listed national park is a bad idea?

https://www.action.org.au/undermining-kakadu

Three reasons why Ranger 3 Deeps is a bad idea:

  • It would rely on an untested underground mining technique in the monsoonal tropics and risk the rehabilitation of the site.
  • More than 200 leaks, spills, accidents and licence breaches have already happened at Ranger Uranium Mine, and local communities live just downstream.
  • Kakadu is World Heritage listed for both its environmental and cultural importance. It is home to the world's richest breeding grounds for migratory tropical waterbirds, majestic waterfalls, vast wetlands teeming with wildlife, Indigenous rock art sites and over 50,000 years of living tradition and cultural practice.
  • The Ranger 3 Deeps Underground Mine is yet another case of a huge foreign company with a disastrous track record trashing the places Australians love for profits they take offshore.

It’s time for our Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to show some leadership and put the protection of our national heritage and the places we love above the profits of polluters.

In the last year, thousands of ACF supporters like you have stood up for a healthy Kakadu and a better future for Northern Australia. We know community power works. Your voice is vital for the future of the beautiful north.

Will you tell Minister Hunt to protect Kakadu in a quick submission on the proposal for the Rangers 3 Deeps uranium mine?

On the weekend Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that nuclear energy is the “obvious option” for Australia. But in the shadow of the Fukushima crisis fuelled by Australian uranium, this is just more yellowcake-whitewash and a symptom of the Abbott government’s addiction to dirty energy. It’s time for energy that helps protect the Earth, not pollutes it.

Please join me in calling for a rejection of ERA’s proposal and no more radioactive regrets.

Thanks for your efforts for our future,

Cheers,

Dave

Dave Sweeney
Nuclear free campaigner
Australian Conservation Foundation

They underestimated us!

What an incredible week! Most days, we work very hard to get climate change into the headlines. After this weekend, we barely know where to start.

Trying to sweep climate change under the rug at this G20 was a big mistake. They underestimated the determination for real action.

In the lead up to the G20, across our sunburnt country, our collaborative campaign trended high on social media, and ACF supporters and Climate Reality Leaders hosted 120 events from Cairns to Swansea, and Canning Vale to Wollongong. 

Australians came together to show that climate change is on our agenda.

The momentum started with a deal between the US and China to cut pollution. Then, the new commitments and statements of action continued. Japan, Turkey, the UK, the EU, and yesterday, even Canada, publicly committed to increase action to cut pollution and support clean energy. 

And it wasn’t just our major trading partners speaking out. Across Australia thousands of people demonstrated that no matter what our government said, climate change is on our agenda. 

These wins highlight one thing. The government and big polluters can no longer hide from their responsibility to do their fair share on climate change. This weekend, Australia’s backwards steps stood in stark contrast to the large strides progressive major economies are taking.

The part that I loved the most, however, is that you were at the heart of it. By working together, here is what we managed to achieve, to show our communities that climate change is on our agenda.

There’s still work to be done. Our government is still stuck in the fossil fuel past when the rest of the world is racing towards towards a clean energy future. Our Renewable Energy Target is under attack, and billions of your hard-earned tax dollars continue to be handed out as subsidies for pollution every year.

But for now, I want to thank you deeply for all your efforts to show world leaders, our own leaders, and other Australians that climate change is on your agenda.

Read the story of how Australians came together to show that climate change is on our agenda.

Thanks,

Victoria

Victoria McKenzie-McHarg
Climate change campaign manager
Australian Conservation Foundation