Federally-funded body demands anti-mining photos be removed

Published: August 12, 2014

A Federal Government-funded body has demanded photographs of people holding anti-mining signs be taken down from a council website and not be used for other purposes.

The International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) demanded an Ipswich councillor remove the “inappropriate” photos and, in a veiled threat, suggested future programs could be under threat. 

Delegates from Africa, Asia, South America and the South Pacific attended an IM4DC workshop, hosted by Ipswich City Council on August 1. The workshop was designed to allow the delegates to speak to community members and local government representatives about the positive and negative effects of mining.

A Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson, Julie Devine was invited to address the workshop to give insights into how Queensland farmers and communities are being impacted by coal and coal seam gas mining.

“I explained that many Queensland farmers, communities, food lands and waterways were under huge pressure because politicians were allowing unsafe mining practices throughout the state,” she said.

The 19 delegates were asked if anyone in the room trusted their governments when it came to mining. “There was a unanimous ‘no’ and I told them it’s no different here in Australia.”

After her presentation, Ms Devine gave the delegates Lock the Gate signs saying ‘Lock the Gate to coal & gas companies’. The delegates organised photos of themselves holding the signs and Councillor David Pahlke posted some shots on the Coal Mining News section of the City of Ipswich website.

On August 7, the IM4DC’s deputy director, Robin Evans wrote to Cr Pahlke demanding the photos be removed.

Mr Evans said in his covering letter: “We have become concerned about the circulation of photos of the group holding the “Lock The Gate” signs……. I attach a letter outlining our concerns, and a request for the images to be removed from the website which they have been uploaded to.”

The letter itself said: “We… would request that the two images…. are removed from the website and not used in further publicity or given wider circulation…… Our concerns… are guided by the need to ensure that our participants are not placed in compromising situations, which could in turn jeopardise any future programs and visits of this nature.”

Lock the Gate’s national president, Drew Hutton said this was another example of governments and big business “being in bed together”.

“The message from the federal and state governments is do what the mining industry says or you’ll be out of business in Queensland,” he said. “It’s time for the people of Queensland to let all governments they should be representing them – the people – not just big business.”

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