Wadi Wadi Elder Alan Carriage
Media release – 17 December 2004

Court finds Stockland acted unlawfully at Sandon Point

In a historic win for Aboriginal people, the Land and Environment Court has found that Stockland Development Pty Ltd unlawfully dumped thousands of tonnes of fill on top of an ancient Aboriginal site at Sandon Point near Wollongong.

Stockland, Australia’s largest residential developer was found to have breached the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.

Justice Pain made the following declaration:

“The First Respondent, by itself, its servants, agents and contractors has carried out development requiring development consent on that part of Lot 235 zoned residential 2(b) under the Wollongong Local Environmental Plan 1990 without first obtaining a valid development consent in breach of s 76A(1) of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.”

The plaintiff, Aboriginal Elder, Allan Carriage said his mother urged him to protect the culture of the Wadi Wadi people just before she died.

“This victory is a real tribute to Mum and the other elders who began this fight many years ago,” Mr Carriage said.

“The culture of the first Australians is important and needs to be protected, not destroyed,” he said.

Greens MLC, Ian Cohen who campaigned to protect the site from overdevelopment said: ”This is a great win for Allan and the Sandon Point Community, who have been actively opposed to the development of this area of unique cultural and natural heritage.”

Mr Cohen said: “It’s appalling that Allan had to take civil action to ensure that the law was upheld. Not one government agency responsible for planning laws in NSW saw fit to properly prosecute Stockland Development Pty Ltd for the breach.”

Ian Cohen said: “Allan Carriage is a true Australian, he has fought to uphold the law and protect our heritage. Stockland Development Pty Ltd is now seeking to have Allan declared bankrupt in the Federal Court.”

“Are we are starting to see a culture of the American style SLAPP suits being used by Australian Corporations against people acting in the public interest?”