As part of the Summer Heat Australia campaign, the 350.org Australia team have been engaged heavily in the fight to stop the massive Maules Creek coal mine, in New South Wales. This mine alone will release the same amount of emissions as New Zealand’s entire electricity sector. The fight has brought together an alliance of local farmers, city-based organisers and the indigenous people – the Gomeroi People. And now those groups are even more united, through the issuing of Leard Forest Alliance and Gomeroi Traditional Owners Protection Treaty.
In a response to published on the Australian Mining site, Gomeroi Elders have outlined how Whitehaven’s mining practices and the mine itself are deeply problematic:
“Aboriginal culture and heritage has been sacrificed by greedy mining which over time just wants to come back to areas and take more and more- even the cultural places and sites that they some years ago promised would be protected, while they destroyed other areas of the Aboriginal cultural landscape.”
You can keep reading the Gomeroi elder’s statement here. Meanwhile, keep reading for more of an update that got shared on our Australian blog. Show that you stand with the Gomeroi People – share this blog on Facebook & Twitter!
In order to clear the way for their open-cut mines at Maules Creek, Whitehaven is in the process of bulldozing as much as half of the Leard State Forest. Not only will they be destroying the natural habitat of hundreds of species of animals and plants, they will be trashing burial and other sacred sites of the Gomeroi people who have lived on this land for as long as anyone can remember.
Gomeroi elders say that they have been treated with complete disrespect and disregard. They claim that they have been denied access to sacred sites and threatened with arrest, forcing them to sit back and watch as bulldozers destroy one of the primary factors that hold them together as a people – their country – their land.
And what is being done about this? Well Whitehaven aren’t looking to change their plans, and the government hasn’t stepped in to protect the rights of the people or the environment.
But the Gomeroi People aren’t ready to roll over yet, they will stand and fight until the end, and many others are starting to rise to the rally cry. Environmental groups from across Australia are standing with the Gomeroi. To show their solidarity they have formed an alliance supporting a statement of support for the Gomeroi people, and the battle to save their sacred lands.
We all need to stand together to protect what is sacred in this world – our environment, and the rights of all those who inhabit it.
This heedless and needless destruction won’t stop with Maules Creek and the Leard Forest. It is happening everywhere and will continue to do so if the government and companies like Whitehaven think they can get away with it.
Let’s take away their social license before it is too late to save what is precious to us.