Lock the Gate will today sign an historic agreement with the Gomeroi Traditional Owners to protect the cultural and environmental values of areas threatened by the Maules Creek and Boggabri coal mines.
The signing of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Environmental Protection Agreement is taking place as the nation commemorates the sixth anniversary of the National Apology.
National Coordinator for Lock the Gate Phil Laird said the agreement represented an important landmark in the battle to protect the cultural and environmental values of the Maules Creek and Boggabri areas.
“One positive outcome from the Maules Creek mine is that it has brought Aboriginal Elders, farmers and environmentalists together in opposition to the mine and fighting for what we share: love for this land,” Mr Laird said.
“Today’s agreement recognises what is unique and valuable about Maules Creek and the Leard forest, and what they mean to local people. Conservationists, Maules Creek farmers and Gomeroi custodians will agree to fight to stop the destruction of culture and biodiversity in this beautiful place.
“In signing this agreement, Lock the Gate acknowledges that we are meeting on the country of the Gomeroi Traditional Owners who have a unique spiritual and cultural connection to this area. We commit to strengthening our partnership and relationships with the Gomeroi Traditional Owners and we are coming together in the spirit of reconciliation.
Gomeroi Elder Aunty Gay Horton said, "I am very happy these agreements are happening and that all parties are supporting and respecting our culture."
Mr Laird said the agreement would help cement strong ties between the groups so that they could continue to work together to protect the cultural and environmental landscape threatened by mining.
“We will collectively look for ways in which we can work together/walk together to address the threats of mining and extractive industry, and its effects on climate change, food security and the wellbeing of our local, regional and global communities,” the agreement says.
Images will be available on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leardstateforest/
The full text of the agreement between Gomeroi Traditional Owners, Maules Creek landholders, Lock the Gate and conservation groups is available here: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/leard_forest_protection_treaty