Her story has been immortalised in a Hollywood blockbuster, and now her target is our booming mining industry.
Brockovich isn't pulling any punches.
“We keep taking, and taking, and taking, and taking, and we never give anything back. Eventually the system will stop,” she said.More stories from Today Tonight
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Brockovich is the enemy of the corrupt and the careless around the globe. And now she’ planning on landing a few blows to corporate Australia.
“There is a lot of money to be made here, and my gut tells me I am very disturbed by the things I'm seeing,” Brockovich said.
Immortalised on the silver screen, her star power demands attention. And so, she says, does the plight of our Great Barrier Reef.
“These are national treasures. These are god-given gifts,” Brockovich said.
What she's so fired up about is that the marine life in Gladstone Harbour, at the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef marine park, are dying.
“This affects us all. You lose this, you lose the Great Barrier Reef. It affects us all,” she said.
“I can't tell you how disturbed I am with this. I lose sleep over it. I think it is a deep, deep tragedy, a great, great concern.”
Toxic sediment stirred up through dredging to deepen the harbor, in order to accommodate a booming liquefied natural gas industry, is being blamed for the widespread deaths of fish, decimating the local fishing industry.
“And this is happening in your harbor, right at your Great Barrier Reef, and the fishermen have lost their industry. We are losing a food supply, and children could be being fed this, and potentially being poisoned,” Brockovich said.
Trevor Falzon has been fishing the region for the past decade.
“All the fish are diseased, there it is you know, my livelihood is gone,” Falzon said.
“It is not fair. They have taken away our living. Nobody knew the scale of what was going to happen, but I think they did, and it really is a thorn in my backside - they thought we were a joke, but we're not a joke. They've taken everything from us.”
Falzon has worked one on one with Brockovich, who is taking the issue very seriously. He says her dogged determination and passion, combined with her high profile, is making a difference in his fight for compensation.
“The people need to wake up, and I think Erin Brockovich is that person who will start showing the people that this is going to happen to us. We need her to help us, to help everybody,” Falzon said.
Rebecca Jancauskas is from Shine Lawyers - the firm responsible for getting Brockovich on the case.
“The Great Barrier Reef marine park area is being impacted by this dredging, and this development,” Jancauskas said.
“She is going to be a very integral part of the team working on this case - not only as a spokesperson and ambassador for the fishermen, but also as part of the legal tea,m as we mount this case against the Gladstone Ports Corporation for just compensation.”
Brockovich's solution is simple. “Why do we keep doing this? Just stop it. Just stop it and back up. Put together a new plan, that is a plan that is effective and good for the people, the environment and the people.”
In Australia Brockovich is already battling companies on a number of fronts. From the Gold Coast where a community is being affected by landfill and methane gases, to New South Wales, and across to Western Australia and to far north Queensland.
She'll soon return to the big screen, but this time she'll play herself in a documentary about water, by the same makers of the controversial climate change film An Inconvenient Truth.Contact details
- Shine Lawyers - www.shine.com.au
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