Jabiluka campaign heats up

March 11, 1998

By Wendy Robertson

The campaign by the Mirrar traditional owners and other land rights and environmental activists nationwide to stop Energy Resources Australia from opening the Jabiluka uranium mine in the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is hotting up.

A blockade of the mine is to begin on March 23, and a national day of action incorporating meetings, rallies and films is planned for April 5.

Strategies for the campaign were discussed at a meeting in Melbourne on February 23-24. Participants included Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation, Chris Doran from the Wilderness Society, Jayne Weepers from the NT Environment Centre, Wendy Robertson from Resistance and a number members of Friends of the Earth in Melbourne.

Resistance proposed the April 5 actions. While the blockade will help delay the construction of the mine, and will give the campaign more time to organise against the mine, it will only be successful if it is supported by popular opinion around the country. That requires a strong public campaign in the major cities.

In Sydney, the campaign is planning a rally and concert on April 5 (venue to be announced). Support has come from the Sydney University Student Representative Council and Koori Department, the NSW Greens, Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Party. The National Union of Students is donating funds for posters, leaflets, music and media publicity.

Speakers confirmed include Jacqui Katona, spokesperson for the Mirrar people; Robert Stringer, national coordinator of the Uniting Church's peace and social justice network; and Bob Brown from the Australian Greens. Other speakers will highlight the health and safety aspects of mining uranium, trade union support for the campaign and the stand of various political parties on the Jabiluka mine.

Jabiluka Action Group meetings are held on Wednesdays, 6pm, at the University of Technology, Sydney. Everyone is welcome.

[Wendy Robertson is a convener of the Jabiluka Alliance and a Sydney organiser of Resistance.]

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