Making a Difference

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Torquay Urbanisation? Say NO!

torquay

As any resident of the Greater Geelong region will tell you, Torquay and the surrounding areas are a great place to visit to enjoy the beach, the shops and the community spirit. Torquay, Jan Juc, Ocean Grove and Anglesea specifically are great little beach communities that really represent the close knit community and positive lifestyle that comes with living on the coast. The shops and cafes are a great place to begin your day, followed by a walk on some of the most beautiful and spotless beaches in the world. The residents of these beach towns are probably some of the most environmentally aware of any other community in Australia and you bet they’re proud of it!

Despite being about half an hour out of Geelong, the second biggest city in Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire has remained relatively free of large commercial developments and urbanisation. Geelong residents have been noticing the encroaching commercialisation of their town, with developments making the main shopping centre of Geelong look uncannily like the Myer centre in Melbourne. Geelong residents escape the changing climate of their hometown by holidaying at the pristine beaches at their doorstep, could anybody imagine these changing as well?!

In an urban growth plan designed as part of the so-called “Great Ocean Road Region Strategy 2004,” 700 hectares of land in the Torquay and Jan Juc area would be turned in to housing. The thirty year plan would see the population of Torquay triple in number, totally changing the cultural climate of the entire region. The population increase would bring with it a massive increase in traffic, a massive increase in waste and more drain on already dwindling resources. The development would potentially destroy large amounts of fauna and flora living in the area and place an unbelievable strain on the local environment. The influx of population in to the area would change the entire feel of Torquay and the surrounding region. There would no longer be a close knit community spirit, the always cheery locals would very quickly be the same overworked and dreary people seen in the highly urbanised suburbs. If the development went ahead, the Surf Coast shire would never be the same again!

Needless to say, local residents have made their voices heard on the matter. People from throughout the Surf Coast shire and Greater Geelong; including residents, business owners, surf lovers, families and activists made up the 3000 strong presence at the Red Rally on February 22. The concerns heard were all about the needs of the community and what would happen to the community if the development went ahead. The facilities and resources of the town can’t cope, the environment can’t cope, the population increase is not sustainable and the people of the community should have the final say in any proposed development.

In response to the convincing outcry and protest from residents, the State Member for South Barwon Michael Crutchfield and Federal Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman have both called for the development plans to be reviewed. The council is expected to make their decision in April or May, they should hope it is the right one. Greater Geelong National-Anarchists will continue to watch this issue and offer support to local residents in ensuring that their community is not changed in the name of crass commercial interests and the greed of political and big business figures. It should be made quite clear to Surf Coast shire Councillors and the State and Federal MP’s that Torquay is a community where the people know what they want and they know the community is their own. The people of Torquay need to look at what is best for their community and by ensuring they maintain a sustainable local economy, sustainable use of the environment and a sustainable population they can keep the same community they have enjoyed for their children and grandchildren in the future!

Further developments and information on this issue will be posted here as it becomes available.

Federal Police Raid Steve Irwin

SteveIrwinShip

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship, Steve Irwin, was raided by Australian Federal Police officers last night. The ship had docked in Hobart at about 5:30pm when AFP officers brandishing a search warrant boarded, thoroughly searching crew members and the ship. Among items confiscated was the ships log and video tapes exposing Japanese whalers slaughtering whales in the Southern Ocean.

Crew members have described the slaughter by whalers as incredibly distressing as the whalers became more brazen. The crew has reported a whale was slaughtered in full view of the Steve Irwin.

The frustration and desperation of the whalers has not only made them more willing to kill whales in front of the Sea Shepherd but more violent towards the activists. The Japanese whalers have thrown scrap metal at activists, and employed water cannons and fired military-grade sonic weapons in an effort to stop the activists from protecting whales.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society remains the only entity that directly confronts the illegal practice of slaughtering whales in a sanctuary. Both the United Nations and the Australian Federal Court have made the commercial slaughter of whales illegal and forbidden whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. Despite these laws, Japanese whalers continue to slaughter thousands of whales each year and the Australian government continues to do nothing!

The Australian government has used the image of Steve Irwin and the environmental spirit of Australians to promote the country on the world stage. Now that the AFP have raided the ship named in honour of Steve Irwin, can the hypocrisy of the Rudd government be hidden any longer? The majority of Australians oppose the whaling in our waters and the continued activism of the 100% volunteer based Sea Shepherd is example of what Australians will do to support those that protect whales from extinction.

What is to come of the police raid on the Sea Shepherd ship? The log book is a record of all the movements the Steve Irwin made on its operation and the video is a damning record of the violent and illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet. Captain Paul Watson has made the statement that he is unaware of whether the raid was made in response to complaints by either the Japanese whaling companies (controlled by organised crime groups in Japan) or the Australian government. It should be a worry for all Australians that the Federal Government puts trade relations with Japan before the values of the population and the protection of heavily endangered whale populations.

What can be done to support the Sea Shepherd and tell the government we oppose their support for criminals? The Australian National-Anarchists support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society with donations and letters will continue to be written to government officials including Environment Minister, the dishonourable Peter Garrett demanding the government serve the interests of Australians and protect whales in our waters.

We must take a stand to protect our marine life from becoming another subject of history. We cannot wait for the Japanese government to control its whaling companies, we cannot expect government to enforce its own laws. The Sea Shepherd is the only entity preventing the extinction of whales and it is the duty of everyone to support them in their time of need.

Support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society:
http://www.seashepherd.org/

Write protest letters to the following “representatives of the people:”

Minister for Trade
The Hon Simon Crean, MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Stephen Smith, MP

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
The Hon Peter Garrett, AM, MP

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Leader of the Opposition
The Hon Julie Bishop, MP

Shadow Minister for Trade, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Leader of the Nationals
The Hon Warren Truss, MP

Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water
The Hon Greg Hunt, MP

BANA Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser

The Bay Area National-Anarchists have established a fundraiser to raise money for research in to Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that a family member of a BANA activist suffers with every day. Anybody that can support the BANA network in raising money to research and defeat Cystic Fibrosis, please do so!

http://tinyurl.com/banacysticfibrosisbenefit