Defence of Sandon Point continues

Issue 
Save Sandon Point rally, August 15. Photo: Sandon-point.org.au

Thirty people gathered at Sandon Point's Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) on September 23 in a show of opposition to the reported destruction of native bushland and Aboriginal artefacts over the past two weeks by developer Stockland.

Activists conducted a non-violent direct action workshop and hung banners on a highway bridge at the bottom of Bulli Pass.

SPATE supporters and community activists picketing the site received a boost earlier in the week, with a legal appeal obtaining an interim injunction against earthmoving activities in a section of the site containing Aboriginal artefacts, although woodchipping and other activities have been allowed to continue. A spokesperson from Stockland stated that work was continuing elsewhere on the site.

The campaign against Stockland’s “McCauley's Beach” housing development has been running for over 10 years, and has brought together campaigns against environmental destruction, for Aboriginal sovereignty and against state corruption. The site is home to a 6000 year old “Kuradji”, or “clever man”, who was unearthed by storms in 1998.

The development was approved using Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act by current NSW Premier Kristina Keneally as one of her outgoing acts as planning minister, bypassing Wollongong City Council's procedures.

Modifications were made to the conditions of consent, removing requirements for Aboriginal monitoring and protection of artefacts discovered at the site.

“We don't accept that Stockland, without consulting the Aboriginal community as was required for their Environmental Assessment, can just completely smash down all the vegetation and undertake massive earthworks”, said Dootch Kennedy, Aboriginal activist from SPATE, on ABC local radio on September 21.

Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon visited Sandon Point after the election.

The injunction is in place until October 13, when a challenge to the approval will be heard in the Land and Environment Court.

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