Bad news from the Wollongong MTB Club yesterday. The email that has gone out to members is as follows...
Messages can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.orgThank you for all of the messages regarding the Appin Track.
We have been using the track without formal permission from the owners, however Derek has been in contact with them on several occasions discussing the continued use of the track.
We presented a draft agreement to the Tharawal Land Council recently and were under the impression from the CEO that it would be approved. When the agreement was presented to the board it was decided that they would conduct an environmental assessment and advise us of the outcome regarding the use of the track. We have been asked to refrain from holding events until further notice.
We are confident that the council will view our activities as environmentally sustainable and that they approve our continued use.
If anyone has any ideas regarding land available to use for a track please let me know. The club has access to resources, grants and support to fund the construction of a purpose built track.
I'd urge everyone to send WMBC a message of support. email@example.com is the address to use for the club. I'd also suggest sending the Tharawal Local Aborginal Land Council a friendly message as well. Their details are below.
A little further research found this story in todays Illawarra Mercury
'Sneaky' move by Aboriginal Land Council to mine Gong
30 May, 2012 12:00 AM
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is eyeing off suburban Wollongong for coal seam gas exploration, sparking a showdown with prominent elders and activists.
An application to examine a huge area of land stretching from Primbee in the south to Clifton in the north was lodged by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council in March, NSW Trade and Investment confirmed yesterday.
The proposed site covers densely populated neighbourhoods, vast stretches of coastline and a massive chunk of the environmentally sensitive escarpment.
Chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council Roy Kennedy blasted the decision as "sneaky" and "offensive".
"This goes against the very grain of who we are, what we stand for and what we have fought for," he said. "We're trying to protect our country and people who should be backing us up want to rip it up."
The application is one of five lodged by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council this year. Its chief executive officer, Geoff Scott, did not return calls yesterday.
In previous statements, he has argued Aborigines deserved to benefit from the mining boom.
"For decades Aboriginal people have gotten little more than scraps from mining activities and this strategy is about Aboriginal people breaking through into the real economy and driving financial benefits back into the land rights network," he said.
Mr Kennedy dismissed that justification.
"This is not the right way to go about helping future generations; all this does is sacrifice our culture and heritage by putting money and mining first," he said.
"We're outraged our very own state body would be acting against our obvious interests."
Of the prospecting applications lodged by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council this year, one covers more than 47,000sq km of land on the Northern Tablelands.
The discovery of that application caused widespread alarm and anger in the community.
Other applications target land near Murwillumbah, White Cliffs and Mudgee.
Even if the Wollongong proposal, known as a Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority, is approved, drilling would not be permitted - at this stage.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council could use a joint-venture partner to stump up the cash and skills needed to successfully explore the proposed area.
Sharralyn Robinson, chief executive officer of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, said the strategy undermined previous battles against unsustainable mining.
"This puts me in a very tricky position because we're funded by our peak body and while I have the utmost respect for them and their history, where this is concerned, I'm really at a total loss," she said.
"I think Geoff's heart and soul might be in the right place, but the question is, at what cost? When are we going to draw the line in the sand and realise it's not all about the money?"
Mr Kennedy and Ms Robinson said the application had been lodged with no local consultation.
Stop CSG Illawarra spokeswoman Jess Moore said she was "shocked" by the latest twist in the coal seam gas debate.
"Leaders of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council have voiced very strong opposition to coal seam gas in the past so this decision just seems completely out of step with their wishes," she said.
"I think there's obviously merit in the Aboriginal community trying to ensure a future for the next generation, but of the many possibilities, it's sad they feel the path to that is coal seam gas development."
While the map doesn't include the area that the Appin XC track uses, I would prefer to prepare for the worst case scenario, and that has me concerned that something similar could be on the cards in this area.
If you would also like to send a friendly message of support for the Wollongong MTB Club and the Appin track to the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council that would be good to show how valuable it is as a resource to a significant number of people.
Contact Tharawal LALC via the details below
Contact Us- firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: PO Box 168
Phone: 02 46810059
Fax: 02 46831375
Greg Bondar - Chief Executive Officer
Yvonne McGregor - Office Administrator
Dulcine Blair - Events Co-ordinator/Administration
Kay Bussell - Day Care Respite Co-ordinator
Leeanne Wright – Receptionist
Board of Directors
Leo Dynevor - Chairperson
Annette Lamb - Deputy Chair
Eric Stone - Board Member
Glenda Chalker - Board Member
Karen Adams - Board Member
Gavin Andrews - Board Member
Shane Evans - Board Member
Ross Evans - Board Member
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