Every evening, when I think it is bedtime, I am waylaid by the Facebook stories which pop up from Western Australia. There it is early morning and the campaigners against the Roe 8 highway are gearing themselves for yet another day’s fight against the assault on their treasured Beeliar Wetlands.
I wrote earlier about the court cases against the Roe 8 highway near Fremantle. On 9 January the intrepid Save Beeliar Wetlands (SBW) lost its appeal in the federal court into the environmental offsets which must be provided to mitigate the loss of the Carnaby Cockatoo’s habitat. The court claimed it had no power to compel the state government to comply with national environmental conditions. This seems incomprehensible and incredibly feeble.
Kate Kelly, convenor of SBW, gave a robust retort: ‘It appears that there is nobody who can hold the government to account for meeting its own conditions, other than the community, and that is what we will do.’
Fearless and determined
And so they are, in ever-increasing numbers, fearless and determined. They lock themselves onto diggers, they climb trees, they pull down the fences. According to the Roe 8 management plan, those fences should only have been erected after the animals within had been trapped and removed. The developers have breached yet another rule and now there are countless dead animals within the site.
The campaigners were encouraged that their 1,000-strong protest on 12 January stopped work that day for about five hours, and they are slowing the diggers’ destruction of the wetlands. They aim to hold off that devastation until the state election on 11 March. If Labor or the Greens are elected in place of the Liberals, the road will be halted.
This a fine example of people power defending an irreplaceable landscape and habitat, the home of the Noongar people.
See here for a great video countering all the arguments given for building the Roe 8 highway.