Archive for April, 2009

Aboriginal leader wants minister to resign over “services dictatorship”

Posted in MEDIA RELEASES, OPINION with tags , on 24/04/2009 by D

Goodooga NSW.

April 24th, 2009.

Michael Anderson, co-founder of the Aboriginal Embassy and leader of the Eauhalyi Nation, wants Jenny Macklin, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, to resign. He explains why in the following statement:

“Jenny Macklin runs a very close second to a former Labor Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Clyde Holding, who under the Hawke government closed down the only nationally elected Aboriginal body, the National Aboriginal Conference, because they were too politically minded and very pro-active with their treaty negotiations, while the more conservative Federation of Aboriginal Land Councils were prepared to adopt a more moderate approach to Aboriginal advancement in this country which was more to the liking of Holding and his Labor people.

“Here today we have a repeat of Labor policy, using the advice of the conservative and moderate Aborigines to take away Aboriginal family welfare if they fail to comply with government strategies developed by the Warren Mundines and Noel Pearsons.

“Now the federal government is rolling out this absolute racist policy that if the Aboriginal communities fail to lease their lands to them, they will not provide any infrastructure and housing funding. Instead they threaten the communities with ‘oh well, we will give it to the state government bodies and they will acquire land on the open market and they through their respective departments can provide the service or housing’.

“Talk about contradiction! By doing this the federal government are themselves creating a greater welfare dependency approach to Aboriginal people.

“This smacks of totalitarianism, but I’m suspicious of the fact that the governments may be doing their sums and are realising that the Aboriginal community organisations are developing wealth and in the not so distant future the Aborigines, if they are clever, could use this wealth to become independent of government welfare need.

“I believe that what the federal government are doing is illegal and flies in the face of the recent announcement by Jenny Macklin that the federal government now endorses the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This announcement is as empty as the sorry statement.

“Moreover, if the Aboriginal people are signing over their lands for services then the contracts surely must be illegal, because the people are doing it under extreme coercion. This is just not right.

“How can our people sell their souls like this? I understand that pride doesn’t live with us any more, but this and our people are agreeing to it, you have to be kidding.

“Living in this 21st century is like living in a nightmare and no matter where I look we are like mats at the door, everyone is walking over us.

“We need our national organisations, if we have any, or state bodies to walk with us and organise against this – surely they can see the wrong being done? Stand up people, this is not right, surely this can be seen. Stand up for your rights and fight back against this dictatorship.”


Michael Anderson can be contacted at 02 68296355 landline, 04272 92 492 mobile, 02 68296375 fax,


Stop the Intervention

Posted in NEWS on 16/04/2009 by D

Lake Cowal Gold Mine locked down during Protest

Posted in MEDIA RELEASES, NEWS with tags , on 12/04/2009 by D
MEDIA RELEASE: 28 peaceful protesters arrested after authorisation to occupy mine site

Contact: more info contact:
Neville Chappy Williams, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal
+61 447 841 560

Natalie Lowrey, National Liaison Officer, Friends of the Earth Australia
+61 421 226 200

Arrested protesters – +61 432 388 665
Lauren Campbell
Amanda Sekold

April 12th, 2009

28 protesters were arrested this morning at Barrick Gold’s mine operation in Lake Cowal, central western New South Wales. They were authorised to enter the mine site by Wiradjuri Tradtional Owners of Lake Cowal and its surrounds.

Image: Activist, Amanda Sekold was one of 28 peaceful protesters arrested at Barrick Gold’s mine in Lake Cowal. Photo: Fiona Lee

Entering the site at dawn the protesters climbed the bund walls into the open cut pit whilst Wiradjuri Traditional Owners performed a smoking ceremony and 15 other protesters blockaded the front gates of the mine. Over 50 workers waited patiently to get into the mine site for their shift change.

“The supporters were authorised by us, the Traditional Owners,” said Neville Chappy Williams, Traditional Owner, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal, who have been in the courts against the world’s largest gold miner, Barrick Gold, for the past 10 years.

Image: Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville Chappy Williams leads his supporters onto the mine. Photo: Fiona Lee

“We asked our supporters to enter the mine site to bear witness to the destruction and document the mine’s impact. It is important that Wiradjuri maintain access to our cultural sites.”

Lauren Campbell was arrested in the mine site having made the journey from Adelaide to Lake Cowal.

“Before going onto the mine this morning I looked at some recentaerial photos of Barrick Gold’s operation, but it didn’t prepare me for the devastation of what we saw. Walking onto country and standing in the mine was an affirmation of why we are here.”

Image: Protesters enter the open cut pit. Photo: Fiona Lee

Another arrested protester, Nectaria stated, “To be charged with trespass after being invited onto Wiradjuri country by Traditional Owners undermines and discredits any claims by the federal and state governments that they are taking on the issues of the environment, aboriginal health and Aboriginal sovereignty. It seriously highlights the continuation of cultural genocide in Australia.”

“When we were arrested the police kept stressing to us that we didn’t get permission from Barrick Gold, inferring that we did have authority from the Wiradjuri Traditonal Owners of the Lake Cowal area.” said arrestee, Amanda Seckold from Melbourne.

Protesters overheard security telling the police that the mine would shut down in the next year or so because Wiradjuri and their supporters would win against Barrick Gold.

Image: At dawn 15 protesters blockade the front gates of the mine, over 50 workers wait patiently. Photo: Drew Misko

“Wiradjuri Traditional Owners of Lake Cowal have a right to protect their cultural sites, a right to protect their cultural water flows and a right to maintain access to this site. Their knowledge has been carried down generations for thousands of years and can help us better understand how to manage this land for future generations,” said Natalie Lowrey, national liaison officer, Friends of the Earth Australia and long term Lake Cowal campaigner.

“Damage to water and water resources is the worst environmental consequences of gold mining. Water systems around mines are contaminated by cyanide, other process chemicals, and the acid mine drainage that runs off the exposed rock.”

Image: Protesters peacefully occupy the mine site for 4 hours before getting arrested. Photo: Fiona Lee

“This makes you wonder why a mine like Barrick Gold was ever approved in the heart of the Murray-Darling basin which has over three million Australians directly dependent on its water.”

All 28 arrested protesters will not plead guilty to trespassing in closed lands within the Barrick Gold mining lease in Lake Cowal.

Lake Cowal Gold Mine in Lockdown

Posted in MEDIA RELEASES, NEWS with tags on 12/04/2009 by D

The Lake Cowal gold mine is in lockdown after protestors walked onto the mine in the early hours of this morning.

Lake Cowal Easter Camp 10-12 April

Posted in NEWS, WGARcontact with tags on 09/04/2009 by D

This is the map for the Lake Cowal Gathering to be held over the Easter weekend Friday 10 April – Sunday 12 April 2009. Hope to see you all there.

Changing Landscapes Photo Exhibition Changing Landscapes Photo Exhibition Changing Landscapes Photo Exhibition

Posted in WGARcontact with tags , , , on 06/04/2009 by D

What: Changing Landscapes Exhibition Opening & Mining and Water Pubic Forum
When: Tuesday 7 April 2009, 12pm
Where: Condobolin Western Plains Regional Development Centre , William St., Condobolin, NSW

Changing Landscapes is a photographic exhibition documenting the story of the world’s largest gold miner, Barrick Gold Corporation’s mine operation in the culturally and ecologically significant Lake Cowal. Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake experiencing periods of flooding and drying in 20-year cycles. The Lake is not only a Nationally significant wetland but is known as the Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation.

Covering a 10 year period the exhibition explores the beauty of Lake Cowal and the stark changes on the landscape through gold mining. Exploring the natural changes through drought and the changes created by human intervention Changing Landscapes aims to to inform the community and wider public about the environmental impacts of the Barrick Gold’s mine at Lake Cowal. The photographs tell a dramatic story of struggle and of beauty in the face of the resource boom.

As part of the exhibition opening on Tuesday 7 April in Condobolin there will be a public forum on Mining and Water to discuss issues around access to water and the impact of mining on water sources. Guest speakers at the opening include local Traditional Owner Betty Atkinson, NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, and Neville Chappy Williams of the Mooka Kalara United Families. The exhibition precedes the annual Easter Gathering at Lake Cowal where people from around the country join in solidarity with Wiradjuri to express their concern and highlight the human rights and environmental impacts of mining.

Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville Chappy Williams: 0447841560
Exhibition Curator, Mia Pepper: 0415 380 808
NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon: 0427861568

Information Resources:

Traditional Owner wins injunction restraining Barrick Gold mine expansion:

Article: The Promise of Responsible Corporate Citizenship at Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold Corporation excluded from the Government Pension Fund

Next Australia is under scrutiny by the UN Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) 42nd Session

Posted in NEWS, WGARcontact with tags on 06/04/2009 by D

Reports by Australian Government and NGOs:

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – Australia has not registered any reservations to this Covenant

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – Australia has not registered any reservations to this Covenant