Michael Anderson from Bundaberg, Qld
9 July 2013
"I have been talking with our Gomeroi people for the last four days over their grave concerns that Whitehaven Coal mining company is about to begin destroying 7000 hectares of Leard State Forest, 25 km northeast of Gunnedah
The Gomeroi community of Gunnedah and surrounding areas have been shocked that Whitehaven Coal are commencing mining activities on land that is especially culturally significant to the Gomeroi People, despite a recent Gomeroi nation meeting calling on a mining freeze and instructing NSW Native Title Services Corp (NSW NTS Corp) to apply for an interlocutory injunction to be placed on any and all development in the Gomeroi Nation until Native Title is determined.
It is evident that the NSW NTSCorp has failed to have any significant impact in protecting the Gomeroi Nation's Native Title interests against this multinational coal mining corporation.
At a recent Tamworth gathering of the Gomeroi Nation on 12 May 2013 over 300 voted unanimously to have the NTS Corp gain legal opinion regarding an interlocutory injunction and to commence legal action against mining companies and ministerial authorities to prevent the authorisation of mining activities in the Gomeroi Nation, without first having Native Title determined by the courts.
We have an active court case registered in the Federal Court claiming our Native Title rights and interests over our Country, but it seems that our interests in the court action is of lesser legal significance than those of the white interest. The NSW NTSCorp must remember we are their clients and they are obligated to act on our instructions.
The Gomeroi people in Gunnedah are outraged because in the last week the Whitehaven Coal mining company has been rolling in all their heavy machinery to commence their mining activities, which will cause major destruction of our significantly important cultural landscape.
Our People are very angry and are now calling upon all Gomeroi people to gather at the main park in Gunnedah before 10:00am 13 July 2013 for a protest and strategy meeting.
We also call upon all environmentalists and other supporters to join us against the destruction and desecration of our natural environment, sacred sites and ancient campsites.
If the NSW NTSCorp continue to fail in their legal fudiciary obligation we will take the interlocutory injunction ourselves.
Without Gomeroi consent the government has approved the total destruction of an entire forest, the 7000 hectares of Leard State Forest, where Whitehaven plan to scrape away the forest in order to access the underlying coal. In doing this they will also destroy the habitat of in excess of forty threatened species of plants and animals.
The time has come for First Nations Peoples and non-Aboriginal people to join together to stop this massive onslaught on the homelands and the rights of Mother Earth."
For further information contact
Greg Griffith - 0499 653 878 at Gunnedah
Michael Anderson, Convenor, Sovereign Union - 0427 292 492 email@example.com
ABORIGINAL WORKERS WALK OFF THE JOB – WHITEHAVEN IN PROTEST AT MAULES CREEK COAL MINE
Over fifty Gomeroi Traditional Owners, Senior Elders, Elders, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members and families have formed a picket line at Whitehaven Coal near Gunnedah in north-west NSW this morning amid a stop work action in protest of the Maules Creek Coal Mine and the incomplete and disrespectful cultural heritage process.
Whitehaven announced last week that they had obtained all extra approvals needed to commence construction on the Maules Creek Coal Mine. Traditional Owners are unhappy at the failure of Whitehaven to conduct rigorous cultural heritage surveys or to properly consult them about the mine plans, joining local farmers and environmentalists in opposing the mine.
"Our people who were working for Whitehaven Coal have walked off the job and we are determined to fight this Maules Creek mine until they show respect to the Gomeroi people and our culture,” said Gomeroi Traditional Owner Stephen Talbot.
"It is with a great deal of stress and concern that the Gomeroi Traditional people, Local Aboriginal Land Council Community and Aboriginal Community members have had to walk off the cultural heritage salvage program at the Whitehaven Maules Creek Mine.
"Whitehaven have shown no respect for Aboriginal cultural heritage or our people. Even today, they lied to our Elders about work progress. We are standing up for our Elders and for our children today.
"The Maules Creek mine will clear more than 4,000 acres of culturally significant forest, artefacts and cultural values that we have not even been allowed to assess properly yet. We have only been able to walk 0.05% of the mine site.
"The forest contains cultural heritage sites, food sources, and totems of our people, and most of them will be permanently destroyed by the planned mine.
"There hasn't been a proper consultation process, the management plan is flawed and we don't believe that our people have been treated with proper respect or that our concerns about the destruction of cultural heritage have been addressed.
"We are seeking an urgent intervention to stop all works until the mine management comes to the table to discuss and rectify our concerns and comes to a mutually acceptable resolution on the management and conservation of our culture and heritage.
"We will be back at Boggabri Park tomorrow morning in larger numbers and with ever more of our Elders to show our determination to stop this destruction of our cultural heritage by the Whitehaven Coal mine,” he said.
*NSW NTSCorp = Native Title Service Provider for Aboriginal Traditional Owners in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.