In June of 2014, I took two buses and a train from my home in Fremantle to the trail head of the Bibbulmun Track in Kalamunda. In rain and a leaky jacket I walked for three hours to Hewitt’s Hut, arriving in the dark. Already at the hut was my friend, his brother and two friends of theirs I had never met before. My friend was walking the entire track. His mates had driven in as close they could to the hut. They had brought eskys full of alcohol, meat for the bbq and mobile phones to watch AFL on.
The regulations of the E.P.A. need tightening.
Dec 4: ABC news reports: ‘Roe 8 Highway work gets green light from WA Government before High Court hearing’
Dec 6: About 30 police and as many protestors present as temporary fences erected between Northlake Rd and Elinor Rd in Coolbellup. Beeliar Wetlands Protectors Camp set up on Northlake Rd.
Dec 6: Federal Department of Environment is investigating Roe 8 for non-compliance in protecting Rainbow Bee eaters.
Dec 8 to 18: Contractors trapping animals for removal – sometimes in extreme heat.
Dec 8: Protectors begin stringing heart shaped notes to temporary fences
Dec 8 and 9: 200 protectors congregate at Malvolio Rd as Leighton Contractors enter and exit site. 85 yr old local is issued with move on notice.
Dead bandicoots found near fenced off areas.
Dec 10: Approximately 1200 people attend rally at Cockburn Wetland Centre.
Dec 12: About 250 protestors congregate at western end of Malvolio Road as a large surveying truck moves on to land. Arrests and move on notices issued.
Dec 13: Coolbellup Family Breakfast held on Malvolio road. Mayors from Fremantle, East Fremantle, Cockburn and Kwinana attend to voice opposition to Roe 8.
Protestors arrested on Northlake Rd for pulling down fence.
Dec 14: Group of 7 are arrested for walking inside temporary fence on Northlake Rd.
Dec 15: Surveying truck works along Hope Rd, metres from Bibra Lake. Woman bolts herself under surveying truck stalling work for four hours.
Dec 16: High Court Judge decides not to open Save Beeliar Wetlands case to review the WA State EPA decision.
Melville City Council pledge $50,000 to raise awareness about the apparent benefits of Roe 8.
Survey truck continues to work along Hope Rd and under powerlines heading to Kwinana Freeway. Large police presence unlike day before.
Dec 17: Rethinkthelink launch petition to have PerthFreightLink documents released to the public
Dec 18: ‘Sunday Sounds’ event at Cockburn Wetlands Centre attended by approximately 1000 people.
MP Alannah MacTiernan releases statement: “FOI Update: the 30 month saga continues: on Thursday the WA Information Commissioner ordered Main Roads to send me 26 documents about the ‘planning’ for Freight Link. So Friday when I went to pick them up, Main Roads were too busy and said they would try to make them available by 23 December. The Information Commissioner is soon to rule on another 40 plus docs.”
Dec 19 – Bulldozer enters Coolbellup bush and clears a wide strip through the middle, killing many large gum and balga trees. More than 500 protectors in attendance at both Northlake Rd and Malvolio Rd sites. Police install a long concrete barricade along the length of the NorthLake Rd footpath.
Dec 20 – nearly 500 people and 200 police are on Northlake Rd as bulldozer clears bushland for second day in row. Police divert traffic away from Northlake Rd. Multiple arrests and move on notices issued.
Two women lock arms to main gate at WA Limestone – the machinery contractors for the clearing. They are arrested.
Dec 21: A total fire ban issued by the Dept. of Fire and Emergency Services. Main Roads were granted an exemption from the total fire ban by the Barnett government (until 2020). Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the exemption granted to Main Roads WA clearing machinery was unsafe and a high risk for nearby Cockburn residents, commuters, workers, protesters and police officers in the area.
Clearing postponed as a water truck enters cleared area.
Dec 25: Large Christmas lunch held at Beeliar Wetlands Protectors Camp
Dec 28: Protectors put out call for mass action on the 4th of Jan, 2017 – the likely re-start date for further works.
Jan 2: Live! in the Wetlands event at Manning Park attended by nearly 2000 people.
Jan 3: Another legal hearing to challenge the High Court decision is announced. Main Roads are prevented from further clearing until the 9th of Jan. Mass action called off for the 4th of Jan.
Jan 4: About 30 protectors at the camp. Police set up festoons on Malvolio Road. Trappers and fencers enter. Western end of Malvolio Road to be fenced.
“If we don’t take action now, we settle for nothing later” Zack de La Rocha
Your Mum swims with polar bears before heading to Beeliar
she has a square blue patch pinned to her blouse
she joins us watching an Empire collapse
our leaders with their misfiring synapse
nothing makes sense, their actions don’t add up,
this bulldozer inside bush in Coolbellup.
The protectors are more compliant, more attentive
to the rules than the State is,
good luck keeping keeping them to their word, kid.
But this is the Premier’s hamartia
after the E.P.A. failed us in the boardroom
the frontline is now the courtroom
the camera pans, a human dolly
as locals clang the fence in rage at this folly
and colonial cogs churn out arrests,
after you’ve lost patience to peacefully protest
the cops will knee cap you, threaten violence
as the bulldozer rips apart animals silent.
Dust correlates to root depth, the drive-belt gravity,
the trunk incision, upper management depravity,
with each frame the forty metre tree falls.
Slow. Gargantuan. De-metabolic.
Who knew Barnett’s buddies were this shambolic?
A thousand media views to each frame,
hundreds of shares, likes and vitriolic blame
into the night and to the next day you truncheon nasty trolls
while on Malvolio dried blue tongue lizard skin rolls,
the now empty vision your friends see on their computer screen
oh echo chamber, oh deaf ear collective, listen to this:
your xmas presents won’t capture the war
the trees have with the bulldozers, blades score
the soil until the top is too light, the muscian’s play,
you pause the video, Earth-Shattering,
cockatoo scattering, drowning in mounds of dead balga trees,
the smell of lost oxygen, the fronds that no longer flap
these fallen stakeholders, you call this democracy,
the precondition to being human is hypocrisy
they say ‘the road will be built, you’re wasting your time’,
but I’ve seen the monk doused in petrol
so we’re here to document the fall
and after the machines have left we go in with stitches,
every surgery a lesson to future witches
you don’t need gas to have tears in your eyes
when your friend John is too shocked to cry
too confused to take notes or offer sacrifice,
too bewildered to even think, we know we’re born
of a broken Environmental Protection Authority
who can’t even follow their own policy.