Ngarrindjeri, ferry workers unite against bridge

Issue 

Ngarrindjeri, ferry workers unite against bridge

Ngarrindjeri, ferry workers unite against bridge

By Martin Iltis

ADELAIDE — On October 25, 50 people gathered at Currency Creek, near Goolwa, to celebrate a victory for the ferry workers who operate services between the mainland and Hindmarsh Island (Kumarangk) and to oppose the construction of the Hindmarsh Island bridge. Construction of the bridge would violate the cultural and spiritual rights of the Ngarrindjeri people.

The workers had a victory when their union retained coverage of the work force as well as maintaining working conditions and staffing levels. These had been under threat after the Goolwa ferry service was privatised.

Ferry workers attributed their success to membership of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which had, they declared, fought "magnificently" for their rights. The workers had previously been covered by the Australian Workers Union.

At the October 25 gathering, workers pledged their support to the cause of the Ngarrindjeri people. This solidarity was reciprocated by Ngarrindjeri women, who said the victory of the workers was a victory for the campaign against the bridge.

Members of the Friends of Goolwa reminded everybody of the environmental damage to animal and bird habitats that a bridge would cause.

The gathering saw the unveiling of the Kumarangk Coalition's new full-colour poster and information booklet.

The booklet, Unfinished Business, contains a concise "history of flawed decision making", an article on the Hindmarsh Island environment and statements by Ngarrindjeri elders.

The booklet and framed and unframed copies of the poster are available by donation from the Kumarangk Coalition, PO Box 3168, Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000. Unions, community groups and others are strongly encouraged to display posters in offices and other visible spaces.