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A history of achievements

2021

Historic Community Win: Fracking ban enshrined in constitution

  • The state ban on fracking in Victoria is enshrined in the state’s Constitution.
  • After a four year campaign led by FoE, the Victorian government announces an emissions reduction target of 45-50% by 2030.

2020

  • After the devastating bushfires of 2019/20, which raged across the state, we launch a mutual aid working group with affected communities to help feed wildlife
  • Our Food Coop stays open during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and gets involved in mutual aid to help keep local communities nourished through lockdowns.
  • We organise a ‘Virtual Paddle Out’ on World Oceans Day calling for a stop of offshore oil and gas tenders
  • We organise a community walk along the proposed route of the Melbourne Metro 2 train line to build support for public transport investment.
  • We organise a ‘100 Laps for Climate’ bicycle relay around Victorian Parliament house calling for ambitions emissions reduction targets

2019

  • The Energy Justice collective is launched to work on the creation of a state owned renewable energy retail supplier
  • We work with coastal communities in the South West against offshore oil and gas tenders
  • We work with communities along the Barka / Daring River after a catastrophic fish die off
  • We help establish Cooperative Power - a community owned energy retailer
  • We produce the ‘45 years of Creative Resistance’ series on the Acting Up show on 3cr Community Radio 

2018

Historic Community Win: Cores and Links reserve announced in Strzelecki Ranges

  • The first stage of the Brautaualung Forest Park is declared in the Strzelecki Ranges in Gippsland after a 20 year collaboration between FoE and  Friends of Gippsland Bush.
  • A waste and consumption collective is established called Transform Waste.
  • We campaign to get Melbourne’s trams powered by renewable energy.
  • We launch the Community Powered Transport plan bringing together anti-road and pro public and active transport groups around the city.

2017

  • Friends of the Earth won the Environmental Justice category in the Victorian Premier's Sustainability Awards for helping to lead the campaign to build community resistance to the potential threat of fracking.
  • We join with NT activists fighting fracking by protesting a proposed gas pipeline and sending farmers involved in the successful campaign in VIC to share their stories
  • We joined the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism opposing the rise of the New Right
  • We organised a rally at the International Mining and Resources Conference
  • We help get the Climate Change Act rebuilt, committing VIC to net zero emissions by 2050
  • A new Forest collective is formed and becomes an organising power house at the state election the following year
  • We organise a Radioactive Exposure tour to South Australia visiting sites and communities impacted by the nuclear industry
  • We launch a new sponsored walk to build awareness about our campaigns - Walk this Way!

2016

Historic Community Win: Ban on Fracking in VIC 

  • We oppose logging in the Red Gum National Park and wetlands
  • We work with Adnyamathanha traditional owners and South Australian activists to oppose 2 nuclear waste dump proposals
  • The ban on fracking and unconventional gas mining comes after a momentous community campaign and is accompanied by a 5 year extension of the moratorium on conventional onshore gas mining
  • Cores and Link conservation reserves in the Strzelecki Ranges  announced after 20 years of work
  • Act on Climate collective is launched to make VIC a leader on climate justice action
  • We partner with the Public Transport Users Association to launch a new Sustainable Cities collective, which campaigns on liveability,  transport and climate change

2015

Historic Community Win: Victorian Renewable Energy Target

  • We release ‘Fracking the Planet: How the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will expand fracking in Australia and around the globe’ report. This comes after we play a central role in the establishment of the TPP roundtable with unions and community groups opposing the so called ‘free trade’ deal.
  • The campaign against fracking in VIC comes to a crescendo with a huge rally in the city with representatives of the 67 communities that declared themselves gas field free via a survey process.
  • The Barmah-MIllewa collective changes its name to River Country, extends it’s work into the broader Murray darling Basin,  and focuses work on Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs)
  • The bi-annual ‘Rad Tour’ features 25 people in two mini-buses and a ute running on vegetable oil!
  • We organise a Radioactive Exposure tour to South Australia visiting sites and communities impacted by the nuclear industry

2014

Historic Community Win: Muckaty Nuclear waste dump plans abandoned

  • The 2014 Radioactive Exposure Tour is an epic adventure from Melbourne to Muckaty (north of Tennant Creek) in the NT, the site of a proposed national radioactive waste dump. Participants come from Australia, India, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, England, New Zealand and France.
  • The Barmah-Millewa campaign successfully mobilises community pressure to stall damaging 'scientific logging trials' in River Red Gum national parks.
  • Yes 2 Renewables campaign launches a fact-finding road trip at the Hepburn Wind farm, the first stop of an 11-week trip to get a real understanding of the impact the Renewable Energy Target has had on communities in south-eastern Australia.
  • Beth Cameron, coordinator of the food co-op, and Cam Walker,  campaigns coordinator, celebrate 25 years of working for the organisation. Beth and Cam are acknowledged at the Yarra Sustainability Awards.
  • We publish a report on the high levels of chlorine disinfection byproducts in water supplied by Westernport Water to Phillip Island and surrounds in southern Victoria.
  • We put the issue of unconventional gas firmly onto the state political agenda, and make renewable energy a significant issue in the lead up to the state election.
  • Working with regional communities, we secure a state wide moratorium on all onshore conventional gas drilling.
  • Following strong community campaigns, a number of mining companies relinquish their licenses to build new coal mines in Victoria.
  • We organise a Radioactive Exposure tour to South Australia visiting sites and communities impacted by the nuclear industry

2013

Campaign against unconventional gas and fracking launched with Poowong becoming VIC’s first gasfield free town

  • Activists from our Quit Coal collective, scale a large cooling tower at the coal-fired Yallourn Power Station in the Latrobe Valley and remain there for 30 hours. It is the longest occupation of a power station in Australia's history.
  • Quit Coal unfurl a banner of the iconic Flinders St Stationto welcome new state premier Denis Napthine reading: ‘Get off the coal train, and get on track with renewables.’
  • Building on successful campaigns to protect River Red Gum forests and secure environmental flows through the Murray Darling Basin Plan, FoE Melbourne's Barmah-Millewa campaign focuses on developing an advocacy campaign for Indigenous water rights. Two 'Cultural Flows' films are completed with Traditional Owners along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, highlighting Indigenous people's deep connections to the rivers and waterways in their country.
  • Strzlecki Koala survey work begins.

2012

  • Four members of FoE Melbourne's Quit Coal campaign climb onto the roof of Parliament House in Melbourne and unfurl a giant banner about the effects of coal on the climate. Nine others lock onto the pillars at the front of the building. Quit Coal activists are also working with local communities in Bacchus Marsh and Anglesea opposing coal mining.
  • After many years of campaigning by FoE campaigner Anthony Amis, the timber treatment chemical copper chromium arsenic (CCA) is designated as being a restricted chemical by the federal regulator.

2011

Launch of Yes2Renewables and Quit Coal collectives

  • Yes 2 Renewables project − initially a website, 'Y2R' becomes a significant campaign. The state government of the time is deeply opposed to renewable energy development and Y2R works to build broad based community support for renewable energy.
  • Quit Coal joins with other green groups to campaign against a new coal to gas plant in the Latrobe Valley.
  • We hold a series of forums in western Victoria (Warrnambool, Colac, Ballarat, and Geelong) to highlight the threat posed by the expansion of coal seam gas, coal, and shale gas in the region. A state wide campaign against Fracking is launched.
  • We partner with the Inland Rivers Network to release a report on the environmental water needs of major wetlands, lakes and river reaches in the Murray Darling Basin.

2010

  • The Barmah National Park is proclaimed in 2010. The Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board is formed as part of an agreement signed between the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the State of Victoria to nurture Barmah National Park back to health through a Joint Management Plan. This is the first Joint Management agreement in the state.
  • A second convergence at Hazelwood Coal fired power station occurs where activists create a mock solar power plant in its place.

2009

Historic Community Win: The establishment of a chain of new River Red Gum National Parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers in northern Victoria after 12 years of working with First Nations groups.

  • We join with groups to issue a community shutdown notice at Hazelwood coal fired power station - Switch of Hazelwood - Switch on Renewables. We participate in other direct action at the site with other groups.

2008

  • We work with the Latin American Solidarity Network and a range of other groups to hold an Indigenous Solidarity Gathering in Melbourne. The focus is on Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. It is well attended with Indigenous representatives from Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), North America, Latin America, Melanesia and the Pacific Islands.

2007

  • Ursula Rakova and Bernard Tunim from the Carteret Islands, come to a Friends of the Earth Melbourne hosted event to share the Carteret story of climate-related dislocation and relocation. FoE hosts Ursula and Bernard in a national tour, putting the Carterets story into the mainstream for the first time.

2006

Historic Community Win: Goolengook forest protected

  • After ten years of campaigning for  the protection of Goolengook forest in East Gippsland, the Victorian State election of November 2006 saw the Australian Labor party returned, with a promise to protect the Goolengook block within a new National Park

2004

Historic Community Win: SA Nuclear Waste Dump Plans abandoned

  • The Radioactive Exposure Tour meets up with senior Aboriginal woman from the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta days after the Howard government abandons plans to impose a nuclear waste dump in SA.

2003

Historic Community Win: Rio Tinto / ERA later gives up its uranium mine plans and rehabilitation of the Jabiluka mine site begins in August 2003

2002

  • Responding to the threat of a second Gulf War, Friends of the Earth becomes a founding member of the Victorian Peace Network and is involved in anti-war rallies and organising throughout the subsequent invasion of Iraq.
  • The Dharnya Alliance, a collaboration between the Yorta Yorta Nation and green and social justice organisations, is formed. Friends of the Earth  organises the first 'Barmah summit' and acts as secretariat for the Alliance.

2001

  • We start work combining the concepts of ecological debt into its work and begins advocating for recognition of and support for environmental (climate) refugees.
  • We host an international seminar on the themes of climate justice and globalisation. A series of street events, public meetings and direct actions are held to highlight the human dimensions of climate change. 
  • We join with various community alliances to oppose the shameless racism of the federal Coalition government.

2000

  • The Wildspaces film festival becomes an annual Friends of the Earth event.

Climate Justice campaign is launched 

  • Climate Justice work focuses on the human rights and equity dimensions of global warming. 
  • FoE highlights the fact that investment in gas will deepen the impacts of climate change, while many groups supported gas as a ‘transition’ fuel. FoE runs campaign against new gas fired power station in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

S11 Protests against World Trade Organisation in Melbourne

  • We help organise massive protests against the World Economic Forum meeting held in Melbourne in 2000.
  • We are also active in the successful campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, which would have established a set of rules restricting what governments could do to regulate international investment and corporate behaviour.

1999

  • Water campaign focuses on logging in Melbourne's domestic drinking water catchments.
  • We support  traditional owners in blockading logging operations in the Cobboboonnee forests, western Victoria.
  • We start  work on herbicides and plantation forestry.

1998

We host  the Indigenous Solidarity Conference, a ground-breaking gathering of Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists from around Australia.

  • While Friends of the Earth had enjoyed intermittent contact with the Yorta Yorta Nation for many years, from 1997 onwards this connection becomes stronger. After the 1998 Indigenous Solidarity Conference, many delegates travel to the Barmah forest to an Indigenous-only strategy session hosted by the Yorta Yorta community. Friends of the Earth participates in a Yorta Yorta occupation of the Dharnya Cultural Centre in Barmah State Park in 1999, and Elders request that Friends of the Earth assist them further in their main objective of regaining management of traditional lands. 
  • The Barmah-Millewa campaign is born.

Jabiluka uranium campaign

  • We help build mass protests at Jabiluka and in cities/towns around Australia, including Melbourne. 
  • We join with the Electrical Trades Union, the Australian Nursing Federation and others to launch the Earthworker alliance − a forum to allow for greater cooperation between green groups and trade unions. 
  • Melbourne hosts the Friends of the Earth International conference with more than 40 countries represented.

1997 

First Nations led alliance against Uranium formed

  • Alliance Against Uranium mining forms in Alice Springs. The Aboriginal-led alliance, now known as the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, is still going strong. FoE serves as the secretariat for the Alliance for many years, and has played a major role in organising many of the Alliance's annual meetings and in other ANFA projects.
  • Goolengook forest in East Gippsland becomes the focus of a national campaign.
  • We work with the Mirarr people to oppose the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine in Kakadu.
  • We play a leading role organising the Roxstop festival at the Olympic Dam mine in SA and the township of Roxby Downs, to highlight community opposition to uranium mining.
  • We campaign for ozone protection.

1996

  • In 1996, Friends of the Earth  achieves the first prosecution for a breach of a logging permit on private land in Victoria. With the support of the Environmental Defenders Office, Friends of the Earth takes a case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, successfully targeting a timber company with links to a minister in the Kennett government. This victory highlights the scale of problems from logging on private land across the state.
  • Following the election of the Howard Coalition government in 1996, we campaign against the privatisation of Telstra and speak out on the blackmail inherent in linking funding of an essential portfolio (in this instance the environment) with the partial sale of a public asset (Telstra).
  • The North East Conservation Alliance is launched in Victoria after a Friends of the Earth initiative.
  • 'Streets for People' transport campaign is launched. Campaign analysis shows a need for more inner city bike paths − when local governments refuse, we painted our own bike lanes, which is quickly followed by formal recognition.
  • Paper boycott starts to build pressure for the production of Australian-made 100% recycled paper.
  • More than 50 direct actions are organised by Friends of the Earth in 1996. One of the more dramatic is a blockade of the 'extinction express' – a train carrying whole logs from Bairnsdale in Gippsland to the Midways woodchip mill near Geelong for export to be used in paper production. FoE Melbourne works with community activists from Geelong and the Otways to occupy the Midways woodchip mill on many occasions. 
  • A less successful direct action takes place in 1996 − activists accidentally occupy a rice ship in Geelong harbour after scouts identify it as being a woodchip ship. Oops.

1995

  •  Successful campaign against re-siting of the East Coast Armaments Complex.
  • French nuclear tests in the Pacific – FoE plays a key role in community mobilisations.
  • FoE blockades a train carrying logs to highlight the ecological and social costs of the woodchip industry.

1994

  • We work with the Kerrup Jmara community to set up a tent embassy in the main street of Portland, to protest endemic racism against the Aboriginal community and specific incidents of discrimination around policing and the provision of health services.
  • Campaign to stop an oil terminal in Western Port Bay, Vic.
  • We play a major role in the Coalition Against Freeway Extensions (CAFE), Victoria. CAFE activists blockade road building operations on Alexandra Parade for over a month. Activists join in a series of arrestable actions that obstruct road works. Eventually all but one of the arrestees have their charges dropped.
  • We help  establish the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) to protect forest in the Otways.  The Otways are protected in a new national park after a long community campaign.

1993 

  • We begin work with Wadjularbinna, a Gungalidda woman from the Doomadgee community in the Gulf country of north Queensland. Many within the Gungalidda community are opposing plans by CRA to develop the Century Zinc deposit at Lawn Hill, 250 kms north-west of Mt Isa. We hold  actions outside the CRA AGM in Melbourne and raises the issue in the AGM itself as part of a campaign that runs for several years. 
  • We help establish the Bugajinda/Moonlight outstation project which includes the construction of basic facilities that allow members of the Moonlight clan to visit their country on a more regular basis, and form the beginning of an eco and cultural tourism business.
  • A new forest campaign is launched in Victoria; blockades are launched in East Gippsland through an alliance of Friends of the Earth and other groups.

1992

  • The following year, FoE works with a range of groups under the umbrella of the Disarm the Skies Campaign Coalition to organise actions outside the Aerospace Expo at Avalon, west of Melbourne ('AIDEX on wings').
  • The Water campaign is established at FoE Melbourne. 
  • An anti-Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) campaign starts in Melbourne.
  • We collaborate  with the Arabunna People's Committee in an (unsuccessful) effort to gain World Heritage listing for the Lake Eyre Basin. The SA Liberal government offers to host a national radioactive waste dump in the region if the federal Labor government drops the World Heritage proposal.
  • The East Gippsland Forest Network (EGFN) joins Friends of the Earth Melbourne. The EGFN had itself grown from Melbourne Rainforest Action Group in the late 1980s. The creation of the Friends of the Earth Melbourne Forest Network and the energy of a new generation of activists results in more than five years of intense campaigning to protect Victoria's forests over the summer of 1993−94,
  • We join with the Wilderness Society and Concerned Residents of East Gippsland to form the East Gippsland Forest Alliance. On-the-ground blockades and campaigning continue and have helped win considerable gains in terms of forest protection.
  • Beginning of the Kennett years of VIC state government. We join in many struggles and play a role organising and training people in NVDA.

1991

  • We campaign to stop the establishment of a McDonalds restaurant in the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.
  • We organise to stop and blockade the  Australian International Defence Exhibition (AIDEX) in Canberra. This is a trade fair for weapons manufacturers, and several thousand people demonstrate outside the National Exhibition Centre.
  • We mobilise the community against Australian involvement in the Gulf War.
  • We work with community to see an inquiry into the Coode Island chemical factory fire under the banner of the Combined Environment Groups and plans to move the facility to Point Lillias. In the end, neither facility was moved to Point Lillias.

1990

  • First Radioactive Exposure Tour in SA. These continue to this day, educating people about the social and environmental impacts of the nuclear industry.
  • Alliances formed with various Indigenous communities campaigning against logging operations in western Victoria.
  • We join the ‘Pay the Rent’ initiative making contributions  to Aboriginal traditional owners.
  • Soft energy group starts in Melbourne, researching and advocating for renewable energy.

Climate change campaign starts.

1989

  • Campaigns on the use of dioxins in paper and other consumer products.
  • Campaign against photo degradable plastics (a short-lived fad).

Community Victory: Mineral sands mining in Victoria stopped.

Community Victory: Australian-made recycled paper industry created

1988

  • Australian Bicentenary − FoE supports actions against the celebrations, including the 45,000 strong march in Sydney on Invasion Day.
  • We produce a 'soft energy' booklet on renewable energy.
  • We  move to Brunswick St, Fitzroy, where we operate a community arts space for the next five years. This gallery provides an early foothold for Indigenous art from central Australia and the western desert region before it is widely available.

1987

  • FoE campaigns for a moratorium on the release of GMOs.

1986

  • Campaign against visits by nuclear-powered ships to Victorian ports.
  • FoE Oakleigh saves a 14 hectare strip of heathland (part of a system that once spread across Melbourne's sandbelt region) from being turned into a soccer ground.
  • We join with the Movement Against Uranium Mining (MAUM) to occupy the Uranium Information Centre in Melbourne.

1984

  • Victory in seed variety rights campaign; the ALP policy stops short of allowing plant patenting for cereals.
  • FoE campaigns to halt a sewage outfall into Wimmera River, Victoria.

1983

  • Waste minimisation in general and recycling in particular grow as issues FoE campaigns on, as well as die-back of native forests on the New England tablelands, NSW.
  • The FoE Fruit and vegie co-op is established in Melbourne as a project of the Food Justice Centre.
  • Plans are floated for leach mining of gold in Victoria. FoE Melbourne works with the Aboriginal Mining Information Centre as part of a successful campaign to stop this destructive form of mining.
  • The Hazardous Chemicals Collective  campaigns on issues including the bulk chemical facility located at Coode Island in Melbourne's inner west and undertakes ground-breaking work on the threats posed by dioxins.

1982

  • A recycling campaign is established in Melbourne, aiming to introduce national beverage container deposit legislation. The state of Victoria had a container deposit scheme in the 1980s called "Cash for Cans" but was rescinded in 1989, and FoE campaigned to have it reinstated. It is not until 2021 that container deposit legislation  is established in Victoria.
  • The world bike-ride for peace, from Canberra to Darwin, highlights Australia's involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.
  • Blockades at Honeymoon uranium mine in SA in 1982 and Roxby Downs in 1983 and '84, organised by an umbrella grouping called the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Australia. These actions concentrate on 'hindering and frustrating' work at the mines, in order to delay their completion and to raise community awareness. The Australian Mining Journal notes that Friends of the Earth plays a 'leading role' in these blockades.
  • In a series of letters and articles in Chain Reaction, many women express opinions like that of Margie Kaye, who says "the environment movement over the last 10 years has continually failed to examine sexism within its internal structures". In 1982, Denise Chevalier writes on behalf of FoE Collingwood: "We, the women at FoE, have fought hard for what we have achieved. We have far more women than men working with us. The women are now at the fore in the decision making in all our campaigns".

1981

  • We team up with the Merchant Services Guild and other unions to highlight the trial of offshore dumping of waste from paper mills. 

Offshore paper mill waste dumping is banned

1980

  • A Food Justice Centre is established to work on plant variety rights at a time when patenting of seeds begins to pose a grave threat to subsistence farmers around the world. Other concerns include the use of harmful chemicals in Southern nations and corporate ownership and control of food. 
  • We host the Politics of Food conference in Melbourne.
  • Musicians Against Nuclear Energy (MANE) is established including dozens of musicians and bands such as Redgum, Australian Crawl, The Angels, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, Atilla and the Panel Beaters, and the Incredible Shambles Band.
  • We help fund the 'Dirt Cheap' film exposing the manipulation of Mirarr Traditional Owners by the Fraser federal government and the Northern Land Council.
  • We support Gunditjmara opposition to the proposed aluminium smelter in Portland supported by an ALP government. We participated in an occupation of the site in September, but despite a successful High Court challenge, the site is bulldozed. Artefacts are destroyed and the smelter is built.

1979

Historic Community Win: total ban on whaling in Australian waters!

1978

  • A Women's Edition of Chain Reaction has articles on sexism in the environment movement; women at work; and several articles on feminism, sexism and the nuclear industry. A letter in Chain Reaction says FoE Sydney and Melbourne are mostly male but "joyfully non-oppressive".
  • We leak the Bills to amend the Atomic Energy Act. The Act allows up to 20 years prison for releasing 'restricted information'.
  • Inquiry into Whales and Whaling in 1978. Following the announcement that the last whaling station at Albany (WA) is going to close down, a campaign for a whale sanctuary in Australian territorial waters, a ban on the import of whale products, and for Australia to take a proactive role in international forums to secure global protection for all species of whale from commercial operations.

1977 

  • We begin work on renewable energy options for Australia.
  • Ride against uranium: Melbourne to Canberra.
  • Engaged in actions to prevent the loading and shipping of uranium from wharfs in Sydney and Melbourne. 
  • Barricades installed on Alexandra Parade in the inner suburb of Collingwood (Melbourne) to oppose the construction of the F19 (later renamed the Eastern Freeway). Dozens of protesters are arrested and several are seriously injured.
  • Organised protests around the International Whaling Commission in Canberra in June, in coordination with Friends of the Earth Canberra and the separate Project Jonah. 

Citizens Against Freeways protest on Alexandra Parade in inner Melbourne against the building of the Eastern Freeway.

1976

Uranium cartel exposed

  • A whistleblower from Mary Kathleen Uranium Mining leaks documents to Friends of the Earth revealing the existence of a global uranium cartel, leading to protracted international scandals and fines totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.

1975

The Food Co-operative is established − and is still going strong!

  • Ride Against Uranium − 250 people ride from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide to Canberra.
  • Anti-uranium activists track the federal government's Ranger uranium inquiry (a.k.a. Fox inquiry) around the country, by train and hitch-hiking to attend hearings.
  • The infamous "lavatory sit-in" at Melbourne Airport to protest against Concorde aircraft, complaining about "super-expenditure for a super-luxury". 
  • Campaign initiated against lead in petrol. The oil industry fights back, but with strong community education, this issue is won in the mid-1980s.

1974

  • First meeting of Friends of the Earth Australia is held on French Island in Western Port Bay, Victoria, the proposed site of a nuclear power reactor.
  • Baw Baw frogs saved from a proposed ski run development.
  • Sailing vessel sent to Moruroa to protest nuclear testing. This was done under the banner of Greenpeace - as no Australian FoE branch existed at this time.

1973

Friends of the Earth Melbourne established