For the last three months Magali and I have been travelling closely with and listening to the stories from families who have been adversely affected by the Agriculture Protection Board (APB), an Australian Government program which operated throughout Australia.
Eugene Mcmahon, Executive Producer and Cultural Adviser has been with the Ngikalikarra Media team to document stories from those families in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in that period. The focus of the project is in listening to these stories, producing documentaries based on those accounts and taking these to the United Nations, Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner (OCHCR) - https://www.ohchr.org/EN/pages/home.aspx
In Eugene’s words;
“…On behalf of the People,
We demand answers.
Questions have already been asked for thirty years from all the Families that have been impacted by the the use of 2,4,5-T and other toxic chemicals as part of the Australian Governments endorsed weed eradication programs in Australia.
The ‘On Australian Shores: Survivor Stories’ Project has provided Families who have lost loved ones with an opportunity to relate their stories on camera, despite their heartache. Their statements and our research, have highlighted the lack of duty of care of the Australian Government and the misleading information the victims were provided with during their time of employment.
Despite successive inquiries, reports and extensive press coverage these Families still have no answers to the questions that have been exhaustively posed to all government authorities, such as the whereabouts and return of human remains still housed in medical warehouses.
Recommendations made in those reports have been ignored and continued inaction from all levels of government still prevails in 2018.
Those Families demand answers, recognition and compensation. The Australian Government needs to own this issue and be accountable for this genocide.”
Each story tragically provides an account of how the government endorsed program wilfully according to some, set about sending teams of young predominantly Aboriginal men into remote locations to spray the deadly dioxin 2,4,5-T - 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and mixed with 2,4-D and/or diesel;
“…2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (also known as 2,4,5-T), a synthetic auxin, is a chlorophenoxy acetic acid herbicide used to defoliate broad-leafed plants. It was developed in the late 1940s and was widely used in the agricultural industry until being phased out, starting in the late 1970s due to toxicity concerns. Agent Orange, a defoliant used by the British in the Malayan Emergency and the U.S. in the Vietnam War, was equal parts 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid). 2,4,5-T itself is toxic with a NOAEL of 3 mg/kg/day and a LOAEL of 10 mg/kg/day.”
LISTEN TO THE PROJECT OVERVIEW
You can listen to the podcast by Dylan Storer below or access it online also at https://omny.fm/shows/the-edge/documentary-sharing-stories-of-agent-orange-sprayi
This project is being privately funded by project supporters Amanda and Peter McCasker as well as Colin McCumstie, Sons Cain and Dale McCumstie have all provided financial and communications support to produce the West Kimberley region episode playlist at https://goo.gl/AYmAJ1
Read more about the project here - http://www.ngikalikarra.org/projects/on-australian-shores