Jocelyn Howden and son, Erland Howden, have stopped work this morning at Whitehaven Coal’s facility in Gunnedah as part of ongoing community opposition to coal mining in the Leard State Forest.
They have locked themselves together, holding the gates shut, blocking access necessary to deliver coal for processing and exportation.
Jocelyn Howden commented, “If our government will not act to protect our precious environment, ordinary citizens like us must act in it’s stead.”
Erland Howden, 28, said “I am here today to send a message to the investors and the financiers of Whitehaven Coal. The age of coal is over. Building the biggest new coal mine in Australia at the expense of an irreplaceable forest is as unacceptable as funding it, when we know the irreversible impacts it will have on the land, the water, health and global climate.”
Mr. Howden added, “Myself, my mum and the hundreds of people before us who have joined this blockade have demonstrated that we will not allow Whitehaven Coal and it’s investors to profit from the exploitation of the community”
Gunnedah’s processing plant is owned by Whitehaven Coal, currently constructing the proposed Maules Creek mine, in the heart of the Leard State Forest. This controversial project has seen a diverse range of local farmers, residents and individuals from around Australia choose to stand up and take action against the imminent destruction of a critically endangered forest, and all of its inhabitants. Within the last 4 months, over 130 people have been arrested taking part in direct action aimed at preventing this project from continuing.
Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson, Dani Joy, said that “Despite the police presence, we continue to see people from all walks of life, and all parts of Australia decide to come here to stand up against corporate intimidation and reckless investment.”
She continued, “This campaign continues to demonstrate that Coal is a national issue that does not discriminate. We will continue to fight the Maules Creek Mine development, as long as the voices of concerned citizens are not heard.”