Skip navigation

Ellie Smith

My first exposure to community organising was through my involvement with the Australian Student Environment Network from 2004 to 2008 where I helped organise opportunities for students to become and stay involved in the environment movement, campaign on and off campus and inform themselves about issues. From 2008 to 2010 I was involved in the inception and growth of a coal-focused climate campaign of Friends of the Earth Brisbane (Six Degrees) where I began to learn more about alliance building, campaign strategy and community organising.

In 2011 I spent a year in the USA learning mostly about struggles against coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains. There I did an internship with a community organisation fighting one particular mountaintop removal coal permit. My task was to tap into local knowledge about unofficial graveyards in the area of the permit, organise clean up events and submit documents that ensured they would be protected by state law. I also attended a training in community organising with the Midwest Academy.

Since 2012 I have continued working on coal and CSG related campaigns in Queensland in roles with Mackay Conservation Group and the Lock the Gate Alliance. In these roles, I have been experimenting with community organising in regional and rural locations. I was the Central Queensland Coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance. My role was to support local groups in my region and support and lead specific campaigns where appropriate. My focus is on the Galilee Basin mines and rail corridors but I also do some work in the Bowen Basin and along the coast. I am currently on the board for the Queensland Conservation Council.