In March 2023, FoE activists hosted a mountain roadtrip to investigate environmental issues in north eastern Victoria. We met with local land care and sustainability groups, visited areas at risk from logging, and the old growth snow gum stronghold of Mt Wills. During this trip, we announced the plan to establish a FoE group in the north east. Although there is a large number of fantastic groups already active in the region, we felt that there was still room for an advocacy based group that could work across multiple issues. The broader FoE Australia federation can provide lots of campaign assistance to a local group, and allows us to amplify local concerns and campaigns.
On the 30th of August I presented information at the Tasmania session of the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Humans Rights. The Rapporteur, Marcus A. Orellana has a busy schedule in Australia, visiting most states and speaking with a variety of community groups, individuals and government authorities.
The alpine regions of the Snowy Mountains are in one of Australia's most loved national parks. However, feral horses are damaging sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals like the critically endangered southern corroboree frog. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee recently stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species. With the feral horse population so high, thousands need to be removed annually to stop this national park becoming a horse paddock. Now the NSW government is one step away from allowing aerial control of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park. This is huge news and a crucial step for our threatened native wildlife and the fragile alpine ecosystems they call home. But we need the community to back this move by the government.
The answer to this question, is probably yes depending on where you live. Pesticides in waterways are a common occurrence. Pesticides can wash off land particularly during rainfall events. If a community’s drinking water supply is located on a waterway downstream of where these chemicals are applied, there is a risk that the water could contain pesticide residues. Pesticides can also pollute groundwater. Some communities rely on bore water for drinking water. Pesticides can also move on air currents through a phenomenon called spray drift and end up in water supplies.
Win for the Forests! - Victorian State Government to End All Native Forest Clearfell Logging by 2024
On Tuesday, the Victorian State Government announced a historical decision: Native forest clearfell logging will end, on January 1st, 2024. This is a campaign that Friends of the Earth has been campaigning for decades. Now we want to use this win as a catalyst for change in the rest of the country.
A recent legal settlement of $132.7 million, will do little to deal with the ongoing issues of PFAS contamination across the country. The settlement was the result of a class action on behalf of 30,000 residents in seven communities who have had their properties and health impacted by PFAS contamination, mainly as a result of PFAS fire fighting foam being used at RAAF bases across the country. Each resident may receive just over $4,000. Less if legal costs are included. Three other communities settled for just over $200 million in a similar class action in 2020. The legal action by the Aboriginal community at Wreck Bay (situated near Jervis Bay in southern NSW) has yet to be resolved.
Much of the work carried out by Friends of the Earth happens in regional communities. In 2023 FoE Melbourne has started to organise a series of road trips to catch up with our allies in the regions, meet new friends and supporters, and build the profile of some of our key campaigns. FoEM will be hosting a series of road trips to different parts of the state during the year. The first one, held from March 14 to 19, focused on north eastern Victoria. We visited Bright, the upper Big River valley, and Mt Wills and met with a range of local conservation groups active in the region. There is a quick diary from the trip available here. A new Friends of the Earth group in the north east. We focused our tour on showcasing local conservation efforts and visited a number of potential logging coupes in the area. There are a considerable number of excellent groups working in different parts of the north east. It was clear from this visit that there is a space for a new environmental advocacy environmental group in the north east. So on the walk on the Saturday at Mt Wills, we announced the formation of Friends of the Earth North East Alps. The plan is to attract a core group of people to run the group in coming months, with a public launch later in the year. If you are interested in our current work in the north east, please check this summary here. What issues should we work on? Apart from the forests and climate work outlined in the link above, what issues would you like us to work on? We would love to hear your thoughts. If you live in the north east and would like to get involved in the group, please get in touch: [email protected] There is a facebook page for the group available here.
Friends of the Earth started an ambitious project in January 2023 with an idea to determine which communities in Australia suffer from the poorest drinking water quality. The first focus of this research has been the Northern Territory. A new report published on April 4 2023, compiles water quality data collated by Power and Water Corporation in the Northern Territory over the past 20 years.
Two unreported and extremely dangerous incidents recently illustrate the contempt the offshore fossil fuel industry has for the environment and the Australian taxpayer. A rig in a marine conservation reserve off the Pilbara coast was ordered to close this month because it was in danger of exploding or creating a massive oil slick.
Friends of the Earth Australia Submission on burning native forest timber (biomass burning) for energy production in Australia (In relation to Climate Change Bill 2022 and Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022)