Indigenous leaders from the Malaysian state of Sarawak joined today with Australian Greens Senators Christine Milne and Lee Rhiannon to launch a national campaign calling on Hydro Tasmania to pull their support out of controversial dam proposals in Sarawak that will displace tens of thousands of people from their homes and flood large tracts of forests and farmland.
Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said: "Hydro Tasmania cannot walk away from their responsibility for the damage these dams will cause to thousands of villagers in Sarawak.
"Hydro Tasmania continues to supply staff and technical expertise to push these projects along despite a growing campaign in Sarawak against the dams. I am calling on Hydro Tasmania to walk away from this destructive project."
Peter Kallang, from the SAVE Rivers group of Sarawak Indigenous leaders said: "People in Australia need to be aware that an Australian state owned company, Hydro Tasmania is involved in massive dam proposals that stand to affect up to 20,000 people who live along the Baram River in Sarawak.
"Hydro Tasmania is turning a blind eye to the human rights and environmental impacts of these dams."
James Nyurang, village headman from the Baram River Region said: "If the dams go ahead I will lose my home, my land. I have no idea where my family will be moved to or how we will make our livelihood.
"Hydro Tasmania's involvement in Sarawak will help to flood thousands of hectares of land belonging to the indigenous peoples of Sarawak. This will spell the end of our heritage, our means of livelihood, custom and culture. We will not stand by while our homes, our rice fields, our fruit trees go under water."
Greens Senator and overseas development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "Momentum Energy are in NSW, Victoria and South Australia busily promoting themselves as a champion of green energy but Hydro Tasmania's record in Sarawak shows the opposite.
"The Australian Greens will work with community groups and State MPs to send a decisive message that Hydro Tasmania must walk away from supporting dams in Sarawak."
Media Contact: Alex Lamb for Christine Milne 0437587562; Adam Burling for Peter Kallang and James Nyurang 0457 192 507; Jemma Bailey for Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880.
Please see attached audio file of press conference. *NB Senator Milne mispoke when she accidentally said 'Indonesia' instead of 'Malaysia' at one point.