Betty Hobbs has put down deep roots in the coastal village of Louisa Creek. Between looking after her large extended family, the frog ponds, camping ground, bush regeneration and community centre, she keeps a weather eye on the creeping coal expansion slowly devouring her community.
For the coal industry, Louisa Creek is just a place to dump its coal. For the families that live there it is where they played as kids, spent weekends fishing and caring for the bush: it’s their community.
“Our community is a really good, close community,” said Betty. “We work together, we look after each other, if one person gets sick or in trouble we're all there to help that person: it's like an extended family.”
But as Betty says, her community lives in “the danger zone.” Already, there are two coal terminals on the southern point next to Louisa Creek – known as Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay. The coal industry plans to build a third coal terminal on the other side of Louisa Creek, Dudgeon Point, dumping an enormous stockpile of coal in between. According to Betty, thirty years ago, there were 240 homes at Louisa Creek, then the coal industry moved in. Today there are 65 houses left and only 15 homes owned by residents.
But Betty’s not going anywhere. “We are never going to stop fighting. We really feel strongly about defending our turf.”
Her message to you and the rest of the Australian community is simple. “I think it’s time people stood up for their rights, and said, “right, enough is enough'. We have to work together.”