Shellharbour protest picnic
By Margaret Perrott
WOLLONGONG — Fifty people gathered at Bass Point, overlooking beautiful Shellharbour Beach, for a picnic and protest against a proposed marina development on April 20.
The action was organised by Shellharbour People's Association for the Conservation of the Environment (SPACE), University of Wollongong Environment Society and the Korewal, Elouera, Jerrungerah Tribal Elders Aboriginal Corporation.
SPACE spokesperson, former MLA George Petersen, pointed out that the development was approved "against the recommendation of several government departments ... and violates the state Labor Party's 1995 progressive coastal policy".
Petersen said the developers, Walker Corporation, had made generous election donations to the Labor and Liberal parties.
During the 10-year battle over the area, the local Labor-dominated council has consistently supported the developers, deaf to alternative proposals for enhancing tourist potential without destroying the environmentally and socially important area.
Kirsten Berkendorff, who has done a major study of the tidal ecology of Bass Point, said the environmental impact assessment seriously underestimated the number of tidal flora and fauna varieties. The same is true of the official studies of the salt marshes backing the beach.
Protesters were reassured by Reuben Brown, who said a land rights claim by the Tribal Elders Corporation had been accepted, and until it was settled development of the marina could not start. There are a number of Aboriginal middens in the area, and local Aborigines have put forward plans to manage the Bass Point reserve.