Supporting Our Unique Environment
In November of 2018, a group of us discovered that our local council and the associated administrative arm were only using imported rock to facilitate the local airport upgrade. We knew this would have a devastating effect on the economy, local jobs and most importantly, our environment. We did absolutely everything in our power to try and create change, but we were mostly ignored. The incredible thing to note is that Norfolk Island is a rock made of rock, and our rock is free of contaminants and pathogens.
There is a specific pathogen, that hides within the ‘gaps’ of rocks, that could wipe out our Norfolk pine trees. In a domino effect, this would reduce migratory birds, and eventually our ability to grow our own produce.
We worry that this imported rock will bring in all manner of ‘hitchhikers’ that we don’t have here. We have no poisonous snakes, no midgies, no cane toads or deadly spiders. All these can travel easily within a load of rock. Despite assurances, there is no guarantee that any amount of treatment will destroy any of these invaders.
Below is the story of our protest…
On January 17 2019, we had a peaceful protest, where we parked on one side of the road for an hour to demonstrate our support for all things local.
In February, we created a CRAAFT Group and created ‘spiders’ and ‘snakes’, which we hung around the island, to draw attention to what might happen
Where is Wocky was a tongue in cheek exploration of where a snake might end up if it was roaming free around the island, complete with interesting snake facts.
Dummies were created and scattered around town. They were very popular with the tourists, so we had to install a selfie chair!
In September 2019, we had a March for Truth. We were tired of asking questions and receiving no answers.
We still hadn’t received answers when we blocked off the old road to Ball Bay, where the ‘temporary’ groyne is. Funnily enough, we received a few after that. Unfortunately, nothing changed.
Despite the fact that we didn’t win the fight for our environment, local rock and local jobs, there were improved and strengthened conditions under which the rock was imported. Now we are just playing a waiting game, to see if all those precautions are enough to ensure our island paradise isn’t ruined by ‘hitchhikers’ and hidden pathogens.
As a final hurrah, the CRAAFT Group painted 43 signs to put around the island to raise awareness about the danger to our Norfolk pines the importation of rock presents.