Community groups across NSW have stepped up action against reckless coal mining projects this week.
Six people have been arrested at four different protests against the rapid and uncontrolled expansion of coal mining in NSW.
On Monday two activists scaled the giant coal-crusher at the Boggabri mine in north-western New South Wales for 8 hours with a banner which read ‘Stop the Coal Rush: Protect Health, Water, Climate’.
This Japanese-owned mine will be part of a vast new mining expansion in the Gunnedah Basin that will destroy much of the environmentally significant Leard State Forest.
On Tuesday an 84-year old birdwatcher chained himself to the gates of the Boggabri coal mine and, along with the local farming community, stopped coal trucks for five hours. This man was arrested and charged with an offence for which there is a possible seven-year jail term.
The next day activists closed down a coal rail construction project in the NSW Hunter Valley, funded by the Federal Government. The activists were drawing attention to the enormous subsidies that coal companies still receive from government at the expense of local communities. One man was arrested after 5 hours on a tripod.
Today, two activists scaled a crane at a Newcastle coal terminal stopping work on the construction of a new coal loading facility at Newcastle’s Koorgang Island. This is the end-point of coal mining destruction in the Hunter and Gunnedah Basins – the Newcastle coal port.
Lock the Gate Alliance President, Drew Hutton, said the actions come at the same time as the O’Farrell government appears poised to release a deeply flawed Strategic Regional Land Use Plan (SRLUP) that will do nothing to protect farms, water and communities from irresponsible mining activities.
“Barry O’Farrell promised before the last election that he would set up a strategic planning process that would protect land and water resources,” Mr Hutton said.
“That promise would appear to have been thrown out the window as good farm land, community health and precious environmental assets like Leard State Forest are sacrificed to coal mining.”