Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

The Art Of Peaceful Protest

By Sam Gillespie

A newly formed group of environmentalists are inviting those who want to peacefully protect the natural environment to an interactive full day workshop.

While members have all been lifelong environmentalists, recent events led them to form CQ Collective in October 2022 to ensure the environment remains a priority.

As the announcement of the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project came to light last year, the group opted to “sit back and observe for a while” before making themselves known.

“We realised that we have certain skills and awareness, being environmentalists for a long time, that a lot of the general public don’t have, so we decided to jump in and share those skills,” said founding member Tonia ‘Tone’ Binsiar.

Ms Binsiar cited other environmental concerns throughout central Queensland as their motivation including wind farms proposed towards Rockhampton and the proposed expansion of Mackay Port onto North Wall Beach.

“A lot of things are very important to us, but we started the group because we realised there’s a lot of projects being slated to happen that may be really detrimental to our natural environment here,” she said.

“A lot of these projects are renewables, and we are so in favour of renewables, but the positioning of those projects and the secrecy and lack of significant community consultation has us really concerned about the impacts.”

This Sunday, June 25, CQ Collective are hosting Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) Training where attendees will learn peaceful, legal protest techniques.

“We live in a democracy and it’s our democratic right to protest,” Ms Binsiar said.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions out there, so the training is generally just to educate people about how this can be done safely, responsibly and successfully.

“A lot of people assume it’s just to block a road, but what it’s going to teach people is media awareness, cultural awareness, negotiations with police and council in a respectful way and to prompt thoughts and discussions on where to focus your time.”

Veteran Franklin River activist and author Alice Hungerford will facilitate the workshop, sharing her years of experience with the group.

“Alice has been ongoing as an environmental activist, so she’ll be able to share some wonderful experiences, stories and knowledge to motivate people,” Ms Binsiar said.

The cover charge for the workshop will be $20 to cover the cost of the hall and Ms Hungerford’s expenses.

Visit CQ Collective on Facebook or email for more information.

WHAT: CQ Collective Non-Violent Direct Action Training

WHEN: Sunday, June 25 from 9:00am to 4:00pm

WHERE: Neem Hall, 4948 Mackay Eungella Rd, Finch Hatton


The preservation of North Wall Beach is one of Tonia Binsiar and CQ Collective’s highest priorities. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

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