Community members have taken direct action to interrupt coal exports from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine this morning. One woman has occupied a coal line, stopping trains from entering the coal export terminal at Kooragang Island in Newcastle.They have taken a stand to preserve the remaining ecosystems & Aboriginal Sacred Sites in the Leard State Forest where the Maules Creek mine is situated.
Front Line Action on Coal is calling for an end to the coal industry and a shift into renewable energy sources stating that the coal industry and the Maules creek mine are detrimental to the environment, the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the local Gomeroi nation, native wildlife, ecology, water resources & community health.
Hundreds of people have been arrested over the past four years in protest against Whitehaven Coal’s destruction of the Leard State Forest since direct opposition began in 2012. Today’s action is a part of ongoing effort to protect Lawler’s well, one of the last remaining sacred sites for the local Gomeroi/Gamilaraay tribe in the Leard state forest. Gomeroi traditional custodians have petitioned Environment Minister Greg Hunt to use his powers under Section 9 and 10 of the ATSIHP Act to stop work in the Lawler’s Well area. After two years pending, Minister Greg Hunt has still refused to grant the urgent applications stating that “Whitehaven is not scheduled to clear Lawler’s Well until 2017” and therefore he doesn’t need to make an immediate decision.
Student Chelsea Lazar said of her actions today “When we look back at the destruction will we ask ourselves, why didn’t we do more ? Our government is failing us and silencing us. How much longer will we continue to watch our forests plundered, our water poisoned, our rights stolen before we all stand together and say; enough is enough.”
Community advocacy group Front Line Action on Coal has accused NSW Premier Mike Baird of continuing to protect the interests of Whitehaven Coal above the interests of the local community & global climate. Despite overwhelming community outcry, the State & Federal Governments continue to support the coal industry with economic subsidies and favourable legislation despite corruption investigations into Whitehaven Coal.
Front Line Action on Coal Spokesperson Reuben Legge said; “New ‘protest law’ legislation in New South Wales will mean that a person protecting their community from industrial scale environmental destruction will be fined more than a multi million dollar mining company that is drastically in breach of environmental regulations. This is not in the interests of the Australian Population. Coal has no future, and ours is on the line. Civil disobedience will not stop until the Government puts the well-being of the Australian People ahead of that of big business. We call upon the NSW State Government to help communities transition to sustainable economies as the mining boom ends and the world moves towards ensuring a safe climate future.”
More info: Reuben Legge, Front Line Action On Coal Media Spokesperson – 0479 154 886 firstname.lastname@example.org