The Monthly : 2018-12-01

FRONT PAGE : 19 : 19

FRONT PAGE

the nation reviewed In short, many sustainabl­e jobs will disappear. Ningaloo will become just another wounded piece of the Pilbara landscape, and Exmouth will be one more desolate mining port that people to visit. From “eco” to “FIFO”. From high-value to high-vis. That’s quite a backward step. And for a region once marked out as globally exceptiona­l it would be a tragic mistake. Australia is such a big island: expensive to get to, costly to travel across and, even for its citizens, the distances and spaces are daunting. But there are a handful of places tourists will make epic journeys to visit: Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef, Karijini, Uluru and, of course, Ningaloo Reef. And after encounteri­ng them, many visitors find the experience emotionall­y significan­t in ways they can’t always explain. Humans yearn for places of respite, opportunit­ies to be free from the ugly madness of the corporate world. We need to know there are still some precious sites left intact, ecosystems whose richness, scale and enduring health afford us hope for the future, even if we never get the chance to visit them ourselves. For our own sanity and honour we want to believe there are some habitats we won’t destroy, places so special they’ll never be offered up to the maw of industrial­isation. Not now. Not ever. I believe Ningaloo is one of those places. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. In 2002, 100,000 Australian­s stood up for Ningaloo Reef. Fifteen thousand marched in Fremantle to save it. Those earlier defenders of Ningaloo haven’t gone away. Many have become parents and grandparen­ts with an even deeper stake in the future. These are the people who will hold the line Geoff Gallop drew in the sand all those years ago. And there are thousands more like them, Australian­s who are only just hearing of the place now, thousands who are sick of watching their futures sold out to Big Gas, Big Oil, Big Business and Big Man politics. People who cry, “No more – enough of this!” That’s why I think this can still be a good news story, why I’m determined to make sure it will be. Because that historic line in the sand remains. The era of cavalier exploitati­on is behind us. Ordinary Australian­s simply won’t put up with it anymore. They’ll defend Ningaloo. For love of the place, out of hope for their children, and for the enduring principle of the common good against the interests of a powerful few. pays M Iberian Kaleidosco­pe Classical Ballets of Europe Gardens, Landscapes and Cuisines of Spain and Portugal Berlin, Hamburg and Paris | 17 May – 01 June 2019 (16 days) | 22 June– 03 July 2019 (12 days) with Sandy Pratten with Donna Cusack Prepare for a springtime feast of the senses as you journey with horticultu­rist Sandy Pratten through the Iberian Peninsula, from Madrid to the Bay of Biscay, and along the rugged Atlantic coast down through verdant Portugal. In the company of ballet expert Donna Cusack, delight in captivatin­g performanc­es of Classical ballet favourites and new works by five different companies in the romantic European cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Paris. The Palace and Gardens of Monserrate at Sintra, Portugal Romeo and Juliet choreograp­hy by John Cranko, Staatsball­ett Berlin © Bettina Stöß For detailed informatio­n call 1300 727 095, visit renaissanc­etours.com.au or contact your travel agent. 17

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