In community response to growing concerns over Adani’s plans to dig up the coal reserves of the Galilee Basin and construct a massive new coal export port at Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, around 200 people met for a 4 day event near Bowen, North Queensland.
People traveled from around the country to support locals as they gathered for a weekend of networking, training, open forums and community plannings sessions.
Welcomed by Birri and Wirri Traditional Custodian Ken Peters Dodd and family, the event took place on Birriah homelands.
Joined by a number of guest speakers, Uncle Ken Peters-Dodd addressed the gathering, explaining the cultural importance of connection to country and the pivotal role of indigenous peoples in protecting and caring for this land. He spoke of the proposal to dam Urannah and the adjoining river systems to service the coal industry, and the impacts this would have on his country and peoples.
“Water is important to our people. It is the creation – from the beginning of times – through the rainbow serpent.” Said Uncle Ken Peters-Dodd, “The water brings life to everything through the land and rivers. We must protect as our duty of care and responsibility, protect the rivers for our future generations.”
The event took place as the UN World Heritage Committee prepares to meet in Bonn next week to discuss threats to the Reef.
“I’ve worked in the Whitsunday tourism industry for twenty years. A vibrant tourism industry depends on a vibrant Reef,” said local Airlie Beach resident, Sandra Williams. “The Reef is suffering irreparable damage created by coastal industrialisation, including ports, and by climate change from increasing coal use.”
“We are parents, and grandparents, tourism operators and farmers, traditional owners and conservationists from all parts of Australia. The community is saying no to this project. Not here, not now, not ever.”
As the event came to a close, it saw the group walk onto Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal to deliver pledges of peaceful resistance to the disastrous project.