“We’re at a really crucial time right now, on this planet. We’re at crisis situation. And we need to act now. To stop big industry coming in, fracking, putting poison in the ground, taking resources out of the ground, messing with the natural balance and flow of Mother Nature. We need to be able to create a new way forward for our kids. We need to make sure that the water is maintained strong, fresh, clean – with no contamination. The film ends here. But the work doesn’t end.” – Josie Alec, proud Kuruma Marthudunera woman and ACF’s First Nations Lead.
The film Heart of Country takes you on a journey to hear from First Nations people on their connection to Country, filmed across Australia in places where coal, gas and nuclear projects risk fracturing that connection while destroying nature and damaging the climate.
When the film ends, our work continues.
Read on to learn more about speaking up for laws that respect First Nations rights, respecting what Country you are on, and supporting First Nations groups, organisations and initiatives near you.
We see in Heart of Country that rivers, forests, animals and communities are under threat from bulldozing and the floods, fires and droughts caused by climate change. The laws that are meant to protect nature are failing.
Right now the Albanese Government is re-writing Australia’s nature protection laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. We expect to see new laws in the parliament next year.
The government must create strong new nature laws that stop this destruction.
ACF is making it clear to the government that new laws must respect and acknowledge the knowledge and aspirations of Australia's First Nations people, and ensure that their rights and interests are recognised.
Strong new nature laws must also prevent climate harm by rejecting gas and coal proposals that damage our climate and maintain the current ban on nuclear energy generation in Australia.
It’s up to all of us to let the government know ambitious action is needed. If we don’t get these laws right, we’re failing to protect nature now and into the future. Read more about the need to ensure laws that champion First People's rights, and actually protect the rivers, wildlife, forests and animals that make up this beautiful country, in our blog on What nature needs from the Albanese Government.
Complete the Have Your Say survey on the federal government's website to speak up for strong nature laws that work for people and planet.
Then send a personalised email to your Member of Parliament (MP) to urge them to act to protect nature and ensure justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Heart of Country takes us from Kuruma Marthudunera Country in WA, to Gomeroi Country in NSW, to Gunditjmara Country in Victoria, to Adnyamathanha and Barngarla Country in SA.
But do you know what Country you are on?
One important and foundational way to take action is to learn about the Traditional Owners of the lands on which you live, work and play. There are resources to help, like Whose Country am I on? and the AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia.
Your local council website may also be a good place to start.
Share what you learn with people you know, or during times that you acknowledge Country, so that knowledge is passed on.
As we confront the urgent climate and nature crises, we have much to learn from the country’s original, enduring custodians.
There are so many incredible First Nations organisations, speaking out and caring for Country. Educate yourself about these organisations’ work, support and share their campaigns and content, and donate.
Here are just a few groups and organisations to look into:
Coal, gas and nuclear projects risk fracturing First Nations communities’ connection with their land, while also destroying nature and damaging the climate.
It's up to all of us to push our government to deliver bold climate action now, and keep Australia free from dangerous nuclear energy.
As well as learning about and supporting incredible First Nations organisations and groups, you can take a minute now to add your name – alongside tens of thousands of others – to stop dirty coal, gas and nuclear projects in Australia:
Share Heart of Country with your friends, family, colleagues and community, and help build the movement of people across Australia deepening their understanding of First Nations’ resistance – and standing with First Nations people as they protect Country. Heart of Country is free to watch on our YouTube account, so you can invite friends, family and others in your community to watch it with you.
If you're part of an ACF Community group or another local group, you could run a screening for a social event.
This 4-page guide steps you through some ideas for sharing this film with others in your community, and turning their viewing experience into powerful action.
By encouraging more people to experience this powerful film, you’ll spark important conversations about advancing First Nations justice, and shift those around you towards hope.
After the film, encourage some discussion and reflection time, with questions like:
Creating important story-telling moments like Heart of Country wouldn't be possible without the support of our community. You can help to support more truth-telling stories like Heart of Country with a gift today.
Explore stories of First Peoples protecting Country in Heart of Country.