Interview - Adam Foster

Interview: Adam Foster, E.L.E.M.E.N.T. : 13th October 2002

The following interview took place at Community Television Channel 31 at a studio at Leichhardt

Element is a community group that helps protect the beautiful Malabar Headland, near Greg Tingle's home suburb of Maroubra Beach.

Special thanks to the ELEMENT Yahoo! Groups website for transcribing this interview.

Greg Tingle: Welcome back to Around the World With Joy. I'm the new Greg Tingle (just went with blond hair colour), and this is Adam Foster from E.L.E.M.E.N.T. Welcome to the show.

Adam Foster: Thanks very much, Greg.

GT: My pleasure. So, Adam, we met about a month or so ago out at Malabar Headland. Please explain to our viewers all about what E.L.E.M.E.N.T. is.

AF: E.L.E.M.E.N.T. is a relatively new environmental group. It was formed a couple of years ago now, and was formed with the intention of getting local people involved in local environmental issues on a
volunteer basis. But at the same time it is a national organisation so we're hoping that that can add some weight and impetus to the local issues that are as important and as pressing as national or
global issues.

GT: That's right. So it's about bringing attention to some of these important matters out at Malabar Headland and things like preserving the environment?

AF: Yes, and also recognizing, for example, the Malabar Headland is owned by the Federal Government so at a local level, if we only got local people involved and local government involved, we wouldn't
actually ever be making a difference to the Federal Government...

GT: Right.

AF: ...who is the actual owner of the site.

GT: Yes.

AF: So the Federal Government is much more interested when our Perth branch and our Melbourne branch and our Sydney branch are all working on that issue together because all of a sudden it's taking a national influence.

GT: Yes. And we met up, and other community groups and the like met up recently with the Honourable Premier Bob Carr. So at least he was there showing his face and hopefully all the right things will be
done on a Federal level as far as protecting this area for the future.

AF: We certainly hope so.

GT: What would you see as the ideal outcome for all the parties concerned with the Malabar Headland?

AF: Ideally we'd like to see the Headland remain undeveloped, or not developed any further is more accurate. There's some complex issues out there with some contamination from a tip that operated many years ago but the protection of the flora and fauna that's out there - some amazing plant life and amazing bird life out there - protection of those things. At the same time though a clean-up of the contamination that is there is a necessary thing that has to happen.

GT: I've witnessed some of that in person - some of it's not pretty. Even things like, you see dumped cars and that, and you might see a dead bird or something - you don't like to see this - and you just
have the feeling that it didn't happen all naturally.

AF: That's exactly right. So if we could see it protected as a national park, providing provision for public access where it was consistent with protecting it, so in other words we don't want to see the land abused, we'd like to see it restored and regenerated...

GT: Yes.

AF: ...and most importantly we don't think there should be any further development out there and unfortunately that is where the pressure is at the moment. There is one section of the Headland that
is already zoned residential.

GT: Right. Yeah.

AF: And there is as such a high risk that it could be carved up and sold as residential development and that exact area is also where some of the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub community is, which is
already listed as an endangered species of plant life in Australia.

GT: Right. So some of the plants, like the banksia, are in many cases one of a kind, where you could go all around the state and not actually find these same exact species of these plants, so they really need to be protected.

AF: And it's even more complicated than that. This is a community of plants that co-habitate together, so unless there is a large enough size of that community they can't survive. So if the community is
decimated further - and keeping in mind, there's only a couple of percent of it left -...

GT: Yes.

AF: If it's decimated further we may lose it forever.

GT: Oh geez! So for the people watching, what would you suggest would be the right form of contact? Like I believe you've got a website set up if you go looking in the search engines and the like.

AF: Yes, we do. I'm not sure whether you'd prefer people to contact here or contact us directly but we do have a webgroup, of course email and telephone, we're running bushwalks out there. People can
get involved in a way that they're comfortable with. We certainly need the help.

GT: Great. So they'll contact the station and any support from the community will be greatly appreciated.

AF: Very much.

GT: All right, thank you. Well, it's been a pleasure to meet you. Thanks very much and we'll see you next week.

AF: Cheers, Greg.

[end of transcript]

Throughout the interview, a video taken at Malabar Headland by another member of this Yahoo group, Steve Ottery, was shown to illustrate both the beauty and the contamination of the Headland. Thanks, Steve! It was very impressive stuff.

The following text was superimposed on the screen as the video ran:

Malabar Headland

Just 20 minutes from Sydney CBD...

...lies the last remaining undeveloped rocky coastline between Port Jackson and Botany Bay.

Malabar Headland is an area of unique and fragile beauty.

The Commonwealth owners, DoFA,

* Refuse requests to disclose their intentions for development or conservation

* Refuse access rights to local groups for research, regeneration and clean up

"The site is posing a significant risk of harm." EPA Draft Record of Decision

The headland is at risk from...

* Toxic contamination and uncontrolled landfill

* Feral pests and weeds

* Vandalism and illegal dumping

* Removal of natural wetland

* Current mismanaged, inappropriate usage

E.L.E.M.E.N.T. proposes...

* Public access where negative impact on conservation

* An educational facility

* Extension of Bondi to La Perouse Coast Walk

* A combination of Reserve, National Park and Public Open Space

* Conservation of cultural, natural and historical sites

Help E.L.E.M.E.N.T. and Friends of Malabar Headland save this magic place.

Pick up a brochure to find out more...

[transcript ends]


E.L.E.M.E.N.T. : Yahoo! Group

Friends of Malabar Headland: Yahoo! Group

Malabar Beach: Greg Tingle's website

Maroubra Beach: Greg Tingle's website

Articles & Press Releases:

Media Man Australia: Press Releases about Maroubra Beach