The Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group (FANG) re-formed in mid 1999 in order to campaign against the establishment of a uranium mining industry and the threat of nuclear waste dumping in Western Australia. We were also motivated by the continual visits of nuclear powered and armed warships to the Port of Fremantle, and sought from the outset to raise awareness in the community about how all these issues are linked. There had been an earlier incarnation of FANG many years before which had been very active in opposing nuclear warship visits.
FANG has always been a volunteer-based group, with no sources of funding other than donations raised at stalls and public events. We work with the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA (ANAWA) and the Community Anti-Nuclear Network (CANNWA) on joint projects and information sharing.
Our first major project was helping to organise a major public meeting on the proposed Pangea nuclear waste dump, held at the Fremantle town hall in August 1999. Our guest was Mary Olson, from the US Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) based in Washington, DC. Mary spoke to a packed house of 600 concerned citizens about the dangers of transporting and dumping nuclear waste.
FANG then turned to the Fremantle festival, designing and building a nuclear waste train to be towed by children and rad-suited technicians through the festival. Festival goers were very supportive of our message. FANG has continued to be a participant in the festival in recent years.
We have been very active in lobbying the Fremantle City Council to strengthen the Port city's nuclear free zone stance. Other Councils such as Chapman Valley have sought to incorporate nuclear-free statements into their town planning schemes, giving them force of law, and we have had some success in persuading Fremantle Councillors to follow this lead. We have also worked with Council on ways to make our opposition to the visit of nuclear powered and armed warships more clear. These efforts are ongoing.
FANG's most visible face has been the stalls we have run at rallies, universities and public events. This is our forum for getting information out into the community and an opportunity to fundraise.
FANG supported the Beverley uranium mine blockaders with funds and a public meeting at Murdoch university, and we have also helped raise $800.00 for the people around the Jaduguda uranium mine in India, which a FANG member visited in 1999. Our main forum for this was to organise a screening of 'Buddha Weeps at Jaduguda', a documentary on the mine, at the Luna on SX cinema in Fremantle.
In 2000 FANG helped stage two performances of 'Atomic Australia', a 30 minute production on the nuclear and anti-nuclear history of Australia played out inside a large map of the country. We also took part in the 2000 Fremantle Festival, turning the nuclear waste train into a large nuclear warship.
In 2001 we have been most active on the issue of warship visits, mounting the first direct actions against these ships in some years. In March we organised a rolling series of four demonstrations to highlight the visit of the FNS Perle, a French nuclear powered attack submarine. Combining a demonstration at the Naval base, a well-attended public rally in Fremantle and two water-based actions which were very well reported in the media, FANG was able to put community concern about nuclear warship visits back on the map. During the visit of a US battlegroup incorporating a nuclear powered submarine in April, we again took to the water and received positive media coverage.
Subsequent efforts were based around building a 'peace fleet' - a network of people with boats who are able to respond on short notice to carry out media-friendly actions on the water that spell out our opposition to nuclear warships.
In 2003 FANG reactivated to run the 'Stop the Swap' campaign, to challenge state Government moves to turn Cockburn Sound and Lancelin into a de-facto US naval base. This highly visible campaign ran for more than a year.
FANG members have been very active during Council elections, carrying out a survey of candidates' positions on nuclear issues, arranging for publication of the results in the Fremantle Herald and doorknocking to lobby for a consideration of nuclear issues in the election.
In the last year, FANG has been active in opposition to the nuclear "renaissance" that has taken place spurred on by the issue of climate change - an issue for so long ignored by the industry, but now seen as its last hope for revival. FANG has voiced community concerns to the nuclear industry at various events, from public forums staged by pro-nuclear politicians, to staging an alternative energy extravaganza during a pro-uranium conference in Fremantle - a declared nuclear-free city.
At all times FANG has acted according to nonviolent principles of respect and accountability, and have developed a good rapport with Councillors, police, media and the community in general. We feel that for a small group with no formal support we have achieved an enormous amount in reminding citizens of Fremantle of the clear and present dangers posed by the nuclear industry.