FoE Australia News

FoE Kuranda working to protect river water supply

Chain Reaction #119, Nov 2013,

Friends of the Earth, Kuranda are concerned that the Kuranda and Mareeba town water supply may not be safe to drink without additional filtering. This is because Kuranda and Mareeba take their water supply direct from the Barron River, which has become seriously polluted. Moreover, the Mayor of Cairns recently said he believed the region's (i.e. Cairns') long-term water supply needs would be met by the Barron River.

In the Barron River catchment there is a massive cocktail of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers being used in intensive agriculture and animal farming. There are also unlined old community dumpsites as well as diesel and petrol pumps. There has also been a history of gold mining along the Cholesy River, which means a high risk of arsenic and mercury contamination. There are numerous sources of treated and untreated sewage.

When the water is treated with chlorine, it interacts with other substances and chemicals in the water forming carcinogen chlorine disinfection by-products. This can increase the toxicity of any water consumed and is now being linked to all sorts of diseases including cancers.

We believe that urgent steps must be taken now to control and reduce chemical pollution in the Barron River catchment. Instead however, the Queensland government is now proposing there be a significant increase in agricultural production, logging and development in the Barron River catchment. This is only going to further deteriorate the water quality of the Barron River and the health of the coral reef.

We may all suffer a serious reduction in our own health if we don't stop the continuing decline in the health and quality of this important, iconic World Heritage River.

Take action now and help do something to save Cairn's and the Tableland's polluted river and water supply.

Friends of the Earth meets @ 1pm, third Sunday of the month at the Community Hub, or the Central Hall, Original Markets, Kuranda. Everyone welcome.

For more information see, email [email protected] or phone Jon on 0499207492 or email [email protected].


Reverse Garbage Co-op, Brisbane

Reverse Garbage Brisbane is a not-for-profit worker run co-operative that promotes environmental sustainability and resource reuse. The organisation collects high quality industrial discards, diverting them away from landfill and sells them at a low cost to the general public. Education is at the core of the organisation with environment and waste focused art workshops forming a large part of the business. Reverse Garbage also offers a mail order service and hosts retail space, Reverse Emporium.

Also set up to provide meaningful and ecologically sustainable employment, Reverse Garbage strives to be an example of a truly sustainable enterprise. Social sustainability is practiced through a worker-managed co-operative model that encourages workplace equity. Currently there are twelve workers.

Now in its fourteenth year, Reverse Garbage is housed in the same building as Friends of the Earth, Brisbane.

Location: 20 Burke Street, Woolloongabba Q 4102


Phone: (07) 3891 9744

Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 9am to 5pm


CounterAct – Training for change

CounterAct − a project of Friends of the Earth, Australia − has recently released a report into the training needs of grassroots activists in Australia. Garnering survey responses from over 100 people working for environmental and social justice, plus a range of interviews and attendance at key events over 12 months, gives an interesting insight into the challenges faced by community campaigners.

Extraordinary levels of commitment were shown through huge amounts of volunteer hours and a genuine, widespread interest in working collaboratively with others. There is a large demonstrated need and commitment to support more training across Australia.

The report includes three case studies from the Broome Community No Gas campaign, Occupy Melbourne and the Coal Seam Gas campaign.

Priority training areas include movement building and group skills such as facilitation and volunteer retention; direct action planning and related legal knowledge; and communications –including traditional, social media, storytelling and practical skills around video, graphics and distribution of campaign materials. CounterAct will be shortly launching a crowdfunding campaign, and seeking other resources to develop and deploy trainings in these areas in 2014.

To download the report, check out our latest news, or contact us, visit