Our snug little bush camp in the northern inlands has been a hive of activity in the last week as NSW Energy Minister Brad Hazzard’s Planning and Assessment Commission approved the Maules Creek mine – the biggest coal mine in North-Western New South Wales and certainly the most destructive. If Whitehaven were allowed to mine their entire coal reserves, it would represent 29% of global annual carbon emissions, so we need to make sure lines get drawn in the sand.
The decision would be tragic if not for the fact that people power is going to stop this mine. After months of community organising, surveying, action and research we are at the beginning of a campaign that may well define the entire conflict over the coal and gas industries’ rush through NSW.
Whitehaven Coal has a number of problems in front of it. Firstly, it has no social license from the local community. It has no consent from the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, who last week delayed his decision on the Boggabri mine’s expansion by three months until January 31. Although the coal industry have managed to protect themselves from legal challenges to their state approval through a legal trick developed by their friend Brad Hazzard, they have no such trick at the federal level. And lastly, they are broke, possibly already running a loss. Whitehaven’s shareholders, including market gambler Nathan Tinkler, are losing confidence in the company.
We need you now! Please come out to camp and be part of history. If you are in Tamworth, or are willing to go there, join the Breakfast of Broken Promises outside the meeting of NSW’s Premier and Cabinet next Monday. Write to, call or visit Tony Burke and urge him to reject the Boggabri expansion and the Maules Creek mine. Do the same with your local MP. Print, photocopy and spread our flyer, or get it out online. Join the Last Chance Tour in Leard Forest and the Pilliga from November 9-11. Write a letter to the local paper. Plan an event, make T-shirts or badges, protest UBS, or come up with something else creative you can do! Join or start a group. Whatever you can do, you can proudly tell your grandchildren how you helped avert disaster.