Embassy & Picket to be evicted?


Following representations from SPATE, the local community and the South Coast Labor Council at the Wollongong City Council meeting on June 28 2004, a resolution, drafted by Wollongong City Council staff (see below), calling for the removal of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the Community Picket was dropped.

Speakers informed the Councilors about Stockland's actions in the Land & Environment Court, that a search on google will produce over 200 instances of Stockland's in court (with approximately 15 of these at Sandon Point), Stockland's suspicious dealings over a Department of Land and Water Conservation part 3A permit, and the 63 breaches of consent conditions, 30 of which relate to water, that Stockland have perpetrated at Sandon Point.

A representative from SPATE read aloud a letter from Allan Carriage stressing that the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy was now the meeting place that used to be a corroboree place and that the continuing existence of the embassy is about sovereign rights. Further, Council should set up an Aboriginal Council of Elders, and fund genealogies to consult the right people before considering any further actions.

More help is needed to keep up the camping to save and protect Sandon Point...



A resolution, prepared by Wollongong City Council staff, calling for the forced removal of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) and the Community Picket will be put to the Council meeting on Monday 28 June.

This is the same day that the NSW Land & Environment Court will again hear further evidence of unlawful activities by Stockland at Sandon Point. Actions that Council has again failed to act on. In spite of this, the Council-prepared briefing document (from which the resolution was developed) describes the community actions, including those of SPATE, as ‘invalid'.

Valentines Day Blockade

The SPATE & Community Picket media release, and that of Michael Organ, the local Federal member, are given below...



Embassy and Picket won't cut and run

The decision about when the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) and the Community Picket should go will not be made by Council, say Sandon Point campaigners. Although Council officers will put a proposal to councilors on Monday night to remove the two protest camps, both are adamant that they will remain, for ‘as long as it takes.'

'This is the Illawarra's proudest example of reconciliation in action - in the face of adversity - meeting on sacred ground to protect its significance and natural values,' SPATE leader Roy Kennedy said today.

‘We would not have to hold a watching brief if Council and the State government did their jobs,' spokeswoman Jill Walker said. ‘We came here three years ago to defend Sandon Point's unique natural and heritage values. We're still doing that, because Council, National Parks, and other government agencies won't. Why do they have no regard for the environment and the community?'

Mr Kennedy will hold talks this week with ongoing Tent Embassies at Canberra and Victoria Park, Sydney, on issues of the legitimate rights of Aboriginal Embassies.

‘Aboriginal people were not visible in this city until the Sandon Point protest. ‘ Mr Kennedy said. ‘These actions highlight our concern about our heritage. We have an inherent right to be here.'

'The cause is a long way from lost,' Ms Walker said, ' The Commission of Inquiry's recommendations must not be compromised, although Minister Knowles is sitting on them - and we know Council officers are pressuring the Department of Planning to ignore them.'

Ms Walker said the Commission recommended further studies of the site's 6,000 year old Aboriginal heritage before any further development is allowed on the remaining three quarters of the site. ‘In the meantime,' she said, ‘The water ponds overflow, poisoning the wetlands and flooding the bike track - but Council doesn't care. We obviously have a very important monitoring role here.'

Community representatives hope to present their case to Council on Monday night






The Cunningham MP Michael Organ has written to Wollongong City Councilors urging them to consult with the community before taking any decision on removal of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy or the community picket.

"I am concerned that a resolution to be put to next Monday's Council meeting will lead to further strains on relations between Council and sections of the Aboriginal and wider community", Mr. Organ said today.

"I am concerned that Councilors are being asked to agree to a recommendation to require the cessation of the tent embassy and picket without the benefit of any community consultation taking place."

"Council has been presented with three options to deal with the issue, but only one, removal of the tent embassy and picket, is outlined in any detail."

"A recommendation that the General Manager engage in a six-month mediation process to enable removal seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse and I have urged Councilors to engage in wider community consultation before reaching any decision", Mr. Organ said.

More from:
Michael Organ MP 02 6277 4366, 0439 442 550
Allen Clark (Media Adviser) 0439 464 439 www.michaelorgan.org.au