Narrabri, 1st April 2016:

Narrabri underground coal mine, operated by Whitehaven, has been shut down this morning with peaceful action. Hannah Grant, 21, and Lily Matchett, 25, have locked on to the coal conveyor, stopping the coal production line and standing up against catastrophic climate change and the destruction of country.

We have obligations to take care of country and everything within it. If we look after the land it will look after us. Life sustains life,” said Dolly Talbot, Gomeroi Traditional Custodian.

Hannah Grant said of her actions today, “these companies are destroying land to the point of no return and causing catastrophic climate change. Around the world it is people who contribute the least to climate change who will be affected the most. End coal now.”

In 2016 we continue to break regional, national and global temperature records, while coal mines are approved for expansion and the Government continues paying lip service to climate solutions. Environment Minister Greg Hunt continues to drag his feet on formal protection for sacred land in the Leard State Forest. Gomeroi/Gamilaraay elders have been waiting too long to hear if Lawler’s Well will be saved. Government has failed to put the cultural land rights of Gomeroi/Gamilaraay people ahead of mine expansion by Whitehaven Coal in critically endangered forest. Section 9 and 10 protection applications were made two years ago under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage and Protection Act (ATSIHP Act).

Lily Matchett said today, “I’m taking action because the coal industry is running Aboriginal land and our health and environment into the ground in the name of capital. I’m watching my government do nothing to stop climate change or assist workers into sustainable jobs. There was only so much watching I could do before taking matters into my own hands.”

Greg Hunt MP has the discretionary power to protect the high order sacred site Lawler’s well in the Leard State Forest. The Environment Minister has finally acknowledged receipt of the ATSIHP protection application for Lawler’s Well, and still elders continue to wait for a decision.

Further Information:

Phil Spark

Front Line Action on Coal Spokesperson

0427 642 245

updates @FLACCoal and #LeardBlockade