CALL FOR CHINA TO DIVEST FROM ARKAROOLA PROJECT

Mountain peaks known as The Armchair - Flinders Ranges

Dear Editor,

As a teacher of Chinese and a long-time advocate, through the Australia-China Friendship Society, of the promotion of friendship and understanding between the peoples of China and Australia, I feel compelled to add my voice to the defence of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Marathon Resources has two major shareholders, Talbot Group Holdings, and CITIC Australia.

Talbot Group Holdings represented the interests of the late Ken Talbot who was facing charges of corruption in Queensland for his part in the bribing of a now jailed former Queensland Government Minister.

CITIC Australia is a subsidiary of the Chinese International Trust and Investment Corporation, a major Chinese state-owned company. It has a non-Executive Director on Marathon’s Board. It is also a major investor in Talbot’s MacArthur Coal.

In an act of great generosity and goodwill towards Australia, China has favoured the Adelaide Zoo with two pandas, the international symbol of wildlife protection.

China must understand that it will greatly hurt the feelings of the Australian people, with potential to inflict long-term damage on Australia-China relations, if an investment arm of the Chinese government becomes embroiled in a bitter controversy over damage to a sanctuary for the yellow-footed rock wallaby, arguably one of our prettiest and certainly most endangered macropods.

Other rare species in Arkaroola include the short-tailed grass wren and a recently discovered frog, the first new frog species to have been found in SA in 45 years.

I call on Mr Chen Zeng, head of CITIC Australia and Director of Marathon Resources to withdraw Chinese investment from this company as an act of goodwill towards Australia and the unique and iconic Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Michael Williss
Aberfoyle Park

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