Offsets Sham – Peaceful action continues to halt Whitehaven’s illegal clearing

Leard Forest Alliance Media Statement

Today, clearing of the Leard State Forest for the controversial Maules Creek coal mine has been disrupted for the fifth day in a row, with ecologist Tiffany Harrison today suspending herself from a tree in the Leard State Forest.


Ms Harrison, 27, said “Short sighted greed and corruption are rapidly destroying country, culture, precious life and ecosystems, which have existed for hundreds of thousands of years. Out of love and respect, we must fight against this loss, against this genocide and ecocide.”


Ecologists have for a long time criticised the approval process for the mine. The box gum woodland of the Leard Forest is listed as a critically endangered ecological community, and is home to 31 species listed as vulnerable. The clearing of the forest has already been postponed twice due to concerns over its effect on native fauna.



The ecological offsets for the project have also come under scrutiny. Whitehaven is required to preserve “like-for-like” areas to offset the clearing, but a study by ecologists Phil Spark and Dr John Hunter found that less than 5% of the proposed offsets represented “like-for-like” habitat. Instead, most of them were farmland that had been cleared and grazed. Claims that Whitehaven will rehabilitate the area have also been refuted, with estimations that it would take at the very least 50 years to do so, much longer than the 20 year lifespan of the mine.


Local Maules Creek community worker, Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson Anne-Marie Rasmussen said “Any attempt to offset or rehabilitate the forest is a farce. It’s a logistical impossibility. You can’t just rehouse every animal from a forest, and they won’t survive the blasting, noise and the dust of a coal mine. Quite simply, that whole forest and all the threatened species in it will die.”
“Premier Baird and the state government must expect community resistance to every new coal project. Not now and never again will we allow these projects to destroy habitat, health and tear apart communities” continued Ms. Rasmussen

This comes a day after Mother and Daughter occupied the canopy halting bulldozers at the end of the first week of Whitehaven’s ten week window of forest clearing.  Over 25 people have been arrested in the last week taking peaceful action, the latest in two and a half years of community led resistance that has seen close to 350 arrests.


Further Information:
Anne-Marie Rasmussen
Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson
0413 205 154

Meret MacDonald
Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson

Twitter updates @FLACCoal and #LeardBlockade