'Sandonistas' fight on


Nicole Hilder, Wollongong

Refusing to be intimidated by the September 19 fire-bombing of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the "Sandonistas" — Save Sandon Point activists — continue to take on the NSW government, Wollongong Council and Stockland, Australia's third largest property trust.

On October 26, for the fourth year running, activists attended Stockland's annual general meeting. Joined by NSW Greens MPs Lee Rhiannon and Sylvia Hale, the "Sandonistas" handed out information and asked the board questions about the unethical behaviour of their company.

Stockland has pushed ahead with plans for the massive housing development at Sandon Point despite findings by the NSW government's commission of inquiry that the project would compromise the cultural, ecological and social values of the site. The land contains an ancient ceremonial grave and a huge stone tool-making site. ANU archaeologist Peter Hiscock regards the site as one of the three most important archaeological sites in NSW. Stockland has used the land for roads, housing lots and storm water retention ponds.

In late September, the NSW Land and Environment Court found that Stockland developed land at Sandon Point without consent and that the National Parks and Wildlife Service failed to act with procedural fairness towards local Indigenous elder Allan Carriage.

Stockland, assisted by BHP (now Bluescope Steel) and legal advice from Wollongong Council, has made huge profits by buying this public land. In the past 12 months, Stockland's profit increased by 60% to $456 million.

A 24 hour community picket has been running for three-and-half years in opposition to the Stockdale development at Sandon Point. For more information visit < http://www.sandon-A HREF="mailto:point.org.au"><point.org.au>.

From Green Left Weekly, November 3, 2004.
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