Wallabies rugby player and former captain David Pocock has joined the Leard Forest blockade to help bring an end to the Maules Creek coal mine in north-west NSW.
Pocock is part of a group of 30 Canberra residents, many of them high-profile, who have converged on the camp this weekend to lend their support to the blockade and to urge the ACT Government to dumps its shares in Whitehaven Coal.
Described as one of the best openside flanker’s in the world Pocock has just returned to training with the Brumbies after a long injury layoff but this weekend has been training for non-violent direct action with the blockaders.
Pocock said he shared the concerns of tens of thousands of Australians who wanted the nation to move away from dirty coal mining and invest instead in clean renewable energy sources.
“I was really keen to come up here and help support what people are doing here, standing up for the local community and farmers,” Pocock said.
“Scientists are telling us we have to leave coal in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change and that is what we need to do.
“Being part of the blockade is something I have been thinking about doing for a long time now. I would be doing this regardless of what career I had. It is part of being a human being and taking on the challenges we face as a society. It is about giving back and getting the conversation going.”
The former Wallabies captain is joined at the blockade this weekend by renowned ANU professor and astrophysicist Frank Briggs and ANU philosophy lecturer Bruin Christensen, to name a few.
National coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance, Phil Laird, whose family property abuts the Leard Forest, said Pocock was the highest profile sportsperson to so far join the blockade and his support was a reminder that people from all walks of life were taking a stand against the coal industry and the massive Maules Creek mine.
“The Maules Creek mine is the largest coal mine under construction in Australia. It will result in falls in the water table of up to seven metres, which will impact local farmers and graziers. It will clear more than half of the magnificent Leard Forest and will add another 10 per cent to the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions,” Mr Laird said.
“The coal price is falling yet the clearing continues. We could see this forest flattened and lost forever while this massive open-cut mine might not even get to production.
“It is time to call a complete halt to the Maules Creek mine and all clearing at the site.”
David Pocock will be available for media interviews at the Leard Forest camp today, November 30 at 9am
Wando, Black Mountain Creek Rd, Maules Creek, NSW
Further information contact: Phil Evans 0490 064 139
Phil Laird 0428 712 622