Farming couple take action at Maules Creek mine site amid ICAC investigation ofTinkler

TODAY: Tony and Nada Smark, farmers, and both 67 from and Castlemaine have halted work in Whitehaven Coal’s proposed Maules Creek mine site in the Leard State Forest, chaining themselves to construction machinery.

Tony and Nada are determined to see real change in the planning and development applications and approvals work. The couple, married 30 years, have experienced the devastation of communities being overpowered by construction companies, having their permaculture farm taken away from them in lieu of a freeway last year. They have now come to help save the Leard Sate Forest  “seeing all these young people putting themselves on the line, I thought ‘What am I doing?’ It’s time to put ourselves on the line.”

Nada Smark has more personal reasons for being in support of saving the Leard State forest, she quoted a poem by Drew Dellinger “It’s 3:23 in the morning and I’m awake. My great great grandchildren ask me in my dreams ‘what did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do while the world was unravelling? What did you do when you knew?”

The action comes as disgraced business man, Nathan Tinkler, fronts the ICAC investigation that has seen several MPs step down, including Premier Barry O’Farrell last month. Tinkler’s Aston Coal 2 originally applied for the development of the Maules Creek mine before the company was absorbed by Whitehaven Coal. Aready, two Aston Coal 2 board members have been charged for failure to disclose political donations to the National Party during the time that the mine was being considered by the government.

Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson, Paul Grajewski, had this to say, “Nathan Tinkler and his many businesses are the subject of an extensive ICAC enquiry. We suggest that until investigations conclude, construction work at the Whitehaven Maules Creek mine should cease. It would be tragic if the last remaining intact area of critically endangered White Box Gum ecological community was bulldozed when in retrospect the mine should not have gone ahead in the first place.”

Today’s action brings the number of people who have chosen to take  arrestable action opposing Whitehaven Coal’s proposed mine this year to over 160 and once again highlights the diversity of protesters.

8:30am, police have arrived on the scene and have given on the spot fines to both Tony and Nada Smark aswell as photographer Rachelle.

Further Information:
Paul Grajewski, Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson: 0498824700

Pictures available from:

Twitter updates: @FLACCoal and #LeardBlockade

For a reading of the whole poem by author and activist Drew Dellinger: Hieroglyphic Stairway