MAULES CREEK, 29 October 2014: The Maules Creek local community and the Leard Blockade camp have called on ordinary Australians to join them for a weekend of protest against Whitehaven Coal’s controversial Maules Creek mine in the Leard State Forest.
They are citing concerns about the water impacts of the mine and the effects that burning the coal will have on the climate. The Maules Creek mine is predicted to see groundwater aquifers drop over 2m, seriously impacting local agricultural access to water. Climate change will also drastically affect local agriculture as well as the global community.
The call comes on the back of announcements that Whitehaven Coal will be unable to begin clearing more of the irreplaceable Leard State Forest until February next year, much later than the November start date Whitehaven were seeking.
Phil Evans, Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson, said, “The community are on the front foot. Whitehaven’s claim that their position has been unaffected – or even improved – by the forest clearing setback is nonsense. What we see here is a company with an abysmally low share price literally shaking in their boots at more bad news, and more protests, for their scandal plagued flagship project.”
The mass convergence planned for the weekend 31st October to the 4th November will be the sixth in a series called Act Ups. The fifth Act Up saw four mines and one coal processing centre operated by Whitehaven Coal temporarily shut down by protestors. The protestors also temporarily shut down the Newcastle rail line leading into the world’s largest coal export port.
Mr Evans continued, “Ordinary Australians know that coal is bad for humanity, bad for water, and bad for the climate, and from pit to port are rising up against the corruption and destruction that coal is wreaking.”
“Hundreds have already heeded the call from the farmers, traditional custodians and community out here and hundreds more are on their way. No more shall Australians stand idly by whilst their governments are bought by coal companies intent on depriving water to farmers, destroying sacred culture, and depriving us all of a safe climate to live in. We need to see an end to mining company political donations at every level of government. Our democracy is not for sale.”
The Leard Forest Alliance is also calling for an immediate stop to work on the Maules Creek mine and for an inquiry into the NSW planning approval processes that allowed this scandal plagued project to go ahead.
“ICAC has shown us that the foul stench of coal and corruption is rife within Macquarie Street, and we fear that it has infected Canberra too, that is why we are also calling for a federal style ICAC to clear the clouds of corruption that surround this and other developments.”
Over 1000 people have visited the Leard Blockade in Maules Creek with over 265 of them being arrested undertaking peaceful, community lead civil disobedience.
Press Conference with Photo and Video Opportunities:
9am Monday 3rd November, 2014.
Wando, Black Mountain Creek Rd, Maules Creek, NSW, 2382
Featuring spokespeople from the local community and the Leard Forest Alliance.
Phil Evans, Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson
0490 064 139