Two examples of development proposals that put profit before people and the environment in Far North Queensland appear to have suffered defeats.
The Djungan people of the southern Cape York area have hailed news that a new application to pursue coal seam gas (CSG) exploration at Ngarrabulgan (Mt Mulligan) was withdrawn this month. Ngarrabulgan is the oldest occupied site in Queensland and a sacred place for the Djungan people.
The Djungan have led an ongoing struggle to prevent mining and to control the future of the site. Recently, elders have spoken up against CSG mining using fracking at many rallies, campaign meetings and awareness raising tours. A significant campaign against CSG has developed in the region.
Spokesperson Alfie ‘Pop’ Neal, for the Djungan and for Ngarrabulgan, thanked everybody from across Australia who helped in the fight to save Ngarrabulgan.
Judulu, chairperson of the Ngarrabulgan Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, said fracking nevertheless remains a threat across the whole of north Australia. He highlighted the mining industry’s unlimited access to water and potential contamination of aquifers as “unacceptable”, saying that it must be “stopped at all costs”.
“That water is needed for people, for farming, and for the ecosystem, not just now, but for future generations ... We Djungan support the calling of a moratorium on fracking across Australia,” he said.
Judulu acknowledged support for this call from Lock the Gate groups, the Knitting Nanas, pastoralists, the Greens, Katter's Australian Party, and the Douglas and Cook Shire Councils. He proposed a strategic plan to address the spiritual, cultural and social needs and aspirations of the Djungan people.
The Queensland ALP state government, elected in January, has now released an environmental impact statement (EIS) - the publication of which was delayed by the Liberal National Party government before the election - into a proposal to extend the dredging of Trinity Inlet, Cairns' port, to accommodate "mega" cruise ships and an expansion of naval forces.
The EIS exposes this LNP promise in the 2012 Queensland election as profitable only if the additional spoil were to be dumped at sea, from where it could drift on to the Great Barrier Reef. The Cairns and Far North Environment has led a campaign against the proposal to expand dredging.