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The beginning of the new decade has so far seen many successes through a challenging financial time for the ACF. Much of the decade remains unwritten, but producing transformative change in Australian society is high on ACF’s agenda.
Climate change remained a central focus for ACF during 2010-2011. The Climate Reality Project presenters, trained by Al Gore, have now provided personal presentations of Mr Gore’s famous slide show to over 300,000 Australians from all walks of life.
The report, Funding the Transition to a Clean Energy Economy, by ACF in 2010 led eventually to the inclusion in the Clean Energy Future package of a Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) seeded with $10 billion – a critical institution to enable investors to play a part in Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy over coming decades.
Australia’s new clean energy law, which passed through the Senate on Tuesday 8 November 2011, was the result of decades of effort by countless Australians who have worked tirelessly for action on climate change. ACF’s efforts were pivotal and catalysed the formation and work of a coalition of nine environment and union organisations, Say Yes Australia, to amplify and coordinate the efforts for this action.
ACF’s long-time work on tax reform resulted in a commitment from government to reform the fossil fuel subsidy which cuts as much pollution as closing a small coal fired power station.
In 2010, ACF worked with the Kimberley Land Council to support National Heritage listing of the magnificent West Kimberley. It is the first listing to proceed with the full consent of Traditional Owners and to recognise the cultural values, making this a truly historic announcement.
That same year, the creation of Alwal National Park, covering 42,000 hectares in central Cape York Peninsula, was turned over to be jointly managed by the Queensland government and Traditional Owner groups. Rinyirru and Kutini-Payamu National Parks were also transferred to Indigenous ownership.
Significantly, $23 million in federal government support for Cape York was announced in 2011. The package includes $20 million for the continued acquisition of properties of natural and cultural significance through the Cape York tenure resolution process and $3 million for community consultation towards a possible World Heritage listing for Cape York, with the consent of Traditional Owners.
The Koongarra area, long threatened by intentions to mine uranium, was instead added to Kakadu National Park. ACF had been working on stopping this mining lease since 1970.
In a campaign that was supported by the ACF community north and south, a billboard was erected in Melbourne to ‘Dump the dump’ at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.
ACF also gathered the signatures of 2700 concerned Australians petitioning against the radioactive waste dump. The Muckaty campaign continues.
The ‘Just Add Water’ campaign during 2010 rallied community support to purchase water on the open market to return environmental flows to the Lake Hattah wetlands in north-western Victoria. A whopping 400 million litres of water was returned to the lakes. ACF put a direct economic value of $14.5 million dollars per year for maintaining the Hattah Lakes in a healthy state with adequate water levels.
After decades of campaigning, ACF is continuing to put forward the case for repair of the Murray-Darling river system. The Basin Plan is due to be finalised in April 2012.
In 2010, ACF broke new ground by helping to bring together conservation, forestry, timber, industry and unions to forge a unique statement of principles to protect Tasmania’s high conservation value forests, support workers in transition, and foster an industry based on value adding with plantations. A landmark agreement in Tasmania may end decades of struggle by protecting hundreds of thousands of hectares of precious high conservation value forests.
As well as putting forward the case for extensive marine protected areas in Australia’s waters, ACF has set up the Sustainable Australian Seafood Assessment Program in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney, developing a project to identify sustainably sourced seafood to help restaurateurs, retailers and consumers wanting to make sustainable seafood choices. This project won the Victorian Seafood Industry Award in 2011, a first for a not-for-profit.
Supported by a remarkable history, ACF plans to continue the efforts to protect landscapes and species and to inspire a commitment to sustainability.
In this decade, to ensure ACF are tackling the root causes of environmental damage, ACF has developed innovative solutions for environmental tax reform, measures of wellbeing, sustainable cities, and sustainable population policies.