The last six months have been very busy in the fight to save the precious Cliefden Caves. Starting mid-year from scratch, our volunteer-led campaign now has over 5,000 people involved. More than 2,000 people have signed the petition opposing the damming of this unique part of Australia's natural heritage, and over 4,300 people have joined us on Facebook!
The growth of this campaign has been 100% fuelled by generous donations from concerned members of the public. A big thanks to the many people who have donated - we couldn't have got this far without you! If you haven't donated yet, there's only five hours left until the end of our Xmas Appeal at www.savecliefdencaves.org.au/donate
To wrap up the year, here are some highlights ...
A feature-length ABC TV report about the caves was aired in October on the 7.30 NSW television program. The report can be found here, along with other shorter news stories done by local TV. The report provides an excellent briefing on what's at stake.
In the 7.30 NSW program, the most enthusiastic proponent of the Needles Gap Dam, Federal MP for Calare, John Cobb, made reference to “other dam sites”. These are most likely the previously proposed “Cranky Rock” dam sites which are down-stream of Needles Gap. It’s highly likely these dams will also adversely affect Cliefden Caves. In his interview Mr Cobb astonishingly said “Caves in limestone are created by water, so I don’t see why water would hurt them” - proving that not a lot of thought has gone into this reckless proposal!
A public meeting was held at the Orange RSL Club in November about the dam proposals. The meeting had a great turnout with over 110 locals attending to voice their concerns. Speakers at the meeting ranged from caving experts to regional water specialists. The audience not only heard about the potential devastating loss of the caves but also the environmental damage a dam would cause on an already suffering Murray-Darling Basin. A well-informed article by Orange local, Ian Curtis, about the meeting and campaign can be found here.
Thanks to the far-reaching campaign, experts around the globe are becoming aware of the fight to save Cliefden’s caves and fossils. An article in ProGEO, the magazine for the European Association of Geological Heritage, was published this month. It highlights the many geological features at Cliefden which are of international significance, and points out that some are the only examples found anywhere in the world. The article can be read here.
Finally, State Water NSW has announced that its preliminary scoping study will be out by December this year and that a recommended dam site will be put forward in the study. They now have a week to tell us their preferred site! Stay tuned and be ready to join us. This might be one of the prime environmental battles in NSW. The state election in March 2015 will be the best opportunity to take this on.
Thanks for being on the journey with us. It's only just begun so we look forward to your further support.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
The team at Save Cliefden Caves.