DESTRUCTION OF SACRED LANDS
My name is Jirragagn Kakaquo and I am Monaro-Ngarigo through my Father, through my Grandfather. Part of Ngarigo Country is the eastern half of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia. It is part of Kosciuszko National Park and I am a Traditional Owner of this Land.
This Sacred Land has been handed down through hundreds of generations for this generation NOW to take care of and should be returned to its Traditional Owners.
We are not a conquered forgotten people. We have never ceded our Sovereignty by conquest or treaty or terra nullius, the 18th century method of colonial land acquisition.
We are spiritually connected to this Land through our religion just like all other races of people who identify themselves as the 'International Community'. We are the First Nations Sovereign People to this Country and still we are being excluded from Recognition and Acknowledgement.
In mid 2004 the New South Wales Government changed legislation that made the Resorts, who operate within Kosciuszko National Park, no longer answerable to the National Parks Association and the relevant Acts.
Perisher Blue (the largest Resort) has lodged a Development Application for a resort development without CONSENT from, or consultation with, the Traditional Owners.
Perisher Blue’s 5-hectare proposal will see an 846 bed resort and 7,300 square metres of retail and commercial space pushed into the heart of Kosciuszko National Park. The development will involve: the construction of 240 apartments in six buildings 3 to 5 stories high and an "Indoor Recreation Centre"; clearing of internal roads in the traditionally snow bound valley to allow four wheel drive access to future development up the mountain; and car parking galore along the Kosciuszko Road.
Amongst its many claims, PB says that the development: is consistent with ESD principles and is not going to have any adverse impacts on threatened species. PB purports that the development is going to be "beneficial" to alpine bog communities, the habitat of the endangered Southern Corroborree Frog (despite destroying more bogs to accommodate cars). Further, PB claims: that it is going to have enough water and existing STP capacity to accommodate the urban sprawl; and global warming is going to be managed with the use of "snow guns". All this on an area with "deep subsurface potential" for aboriginal archaeological sites. Never mind, it seems that "past development" is the real problem and PB is going to plant a few trees to compensate. The NPWS, who manage the Park, has been allocated 57 square metres on the site. This compares with the 129 square metres for "Real Estate Marketing Management".
The DA is the first stage of a Kosciuszko National Park development regime that will stretch well beyond Perisher Valley, as the NSW government gears up to allow such development across the alpine region via its "Alpine Resorts Plan" – a massive private development land grab that will see development in areas such as Charlotte Pass, Smiggins Holes, Guthega, Mount Selwyn and Sawpit Creek.
An Independent Scientific Committee on Kosciuszko National Park stated:
- It is one of the few large protected areas remaining in temperate Australia where ecological processes can still occur without significant human intervention
- Includes alpine areas that are of international significance
- Protects 204 species of alpine flowering plants, including at least 21 species that are endemic and 33 that are rare
- Includes subalpine ecosystems that provide habitat for a number of rare animal species (e.g. mountain pygmy-possum in Podocarpus heath and corroboree frog in sphagnum bogs)
- Has probably the most outstanding development of subalpine treeless flats and valleys in the world
- Includes populations of thirteen vertebrates that are listed as threatened or near threatened by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), including the endangered mountain pygmy-possum
- Has nine wilderness areas recognised under NSW wilderness legislation, which constitute 346,257 hectares (50.15%) of the park; and which are significant at national and international levels as part of the Australian Alps wilderness.
Kosciuszko National Park is also internationally recognised as:
- A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
- A world centre of biodiversity (World Conservation Monitoring Centre)
- Blue Lake is listed under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance
- Fulfils criteria for World Heritage listing
Snowy Hydro Ltd commenced Cloud Seeding with silver iodide in Kosciuszko National Park during the winter months 2004 from 12 ground based generators at a cost of $20 million dollars for a six year trial. This was again done without CONSENT, or consultation with, the Traditional Owners.
Despite claims there is NO evidence that Cloud Seeding actually works. How can you alter Mother Earth’s natural cycles without severe consequences to the Land, the Environment, our Precious Life Sustaining Water and all of her Inhabitants?
Possible Impacts of elevated levels of silver due to cloud seeding:
- The silver iodide used in cloud seeding causes elevations in atmospheric silver concentrations.
- Silver concentrations in precipitation resulting from seeding clouds with silver iodide were 10-4,500 nanograms per litre compared with concentrations of 0-20 nanograms per litre without cloud seeding (Cooper and Jolly 1970).
- Human sources of atmospheric silver, such as cloud seeding, may be responsible for the enrichment of silver by factors of 326-355 over its average concentration in the earth's crust. (Struempler 1975)
- Silver is one of the most toxic heavy metals to freshwater micro-organisms, both plants and animals. (9)
- Silver becomes adsorbed onto humic complexes and suspended particulates; and incorporated into, or adsorbed onto, aquatic plants and animals. The most sensitive organisms are phytoplankton, and the embryos and larvae of animals, including the tadpole stage of the frog life cycle. (9)
- Any increased silver in the region is of serious concern for the endangered Southern Corroboree Frog because of frogs' high sensitivity to toxins.
- Silver is more bioavailable under conditions of low anion concentrations, low levels of reactive sulphide or sulphur containing ligands, low concentrations of organic ligands (humates), lower suspended sediment and lower pH. A number of these conditions apply to, at least, the Kosciuszko alpine lakes (2) and it is therefore of concern that silver will impact on plants and animals in the lakes.
- Silver is a genotoxin i.e. capable of forming genetic mutations (It binds with DNA and can cause DNA strands to break and affect replication). (9)
The New South Wales Government is also set to approve more Horse Riding Camps in Kosciuszko, without Traditional Owner CONSENT or consultation, which would also cause high levels of damage to the Fragile Environment.
They are also planning to remove major roads leading to the Resorts from the care of National Parks Association to the Roads and Traffic Authority. This would increase dramatically the numbers of animals, including Wombats, killed by speeding cars due to an increase in the allowed speed limits with the park.
All of this has occurred WITHOUT the CONSENT from the proper AUTHORITY – THE SOVEREIGN TRADITIONAL OWNERS. THE SOVEREIGN TRADITIONAL OWNERS NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO FIGHT PERISHER BLUE AND THE NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT’S PLANS OF DESTRUCTION IN KOZCUISKO NATIONAL PARK AND YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE RETURN OF SACRED LANDS TO SAVE THEM FROM DESTRUCTION.
1. Email the approving body to make your objection to the development known:
Alpine Resorts Assessments Team
Office of Sustainable Development Assessments and Approvals
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources
PLEASE QUOTE DA262-10-2004
a) Write to the Resort responsible for the proposal Perisher Blue and make your objection to the development known:
Perisher Blue Pty Limited
PO Box 42
PERISHER VALLEY NSW 2624
b) Sign online petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/mountain/petition.html
3. Email the Premier of New South Wales and state your objections:
The Hon. (Bob) Robert John CARR, MP
4. You can also write or email me and support the return of our Traditional Lands:
Jirragagn Kakaquo (Carl Mundy)
3 Moss Street
NOWRA NSW 2541
Thanking you sincerely
1. National Parks Association Media Release website
2. Colong Wilderness Foundation Action Alert: Kosciuszko Development
3. Cloud Seeding Briefing Paper prepared by Colong Foundation for Wilderness and National Parks Association of NSW, 13th March 2004.