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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Blockade stalls work on forest coal mine

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Leard State Forest blockade campaigners paid an impromptu visit to the offices of Whitehaven Coal in Boggabri on Wednesday urging the release of the independent review of the company’s offsets plan for the controversial Maules Creek mine. Photo leardstateforest
Leard State Forest blockade campaigners paid an impromptu visit to the offices of Whitehaven Coal in Boggabri on Wednesday urging the release of the independent review of the company’s offsets plan for the controversial Maules Creek mine. Photo leardstateforest/Flickr.com

Work on the controversial Maules Creek coal mine near Boggabri has been stopped for the second time this week, as locals and supporters, many from the northern rivers, continued to blockade the site.

Around 20 protesters, including one attached to the top of a large pole structure in the forest canopy, have managed to immobilise eleven heavy machines used for preliminary construction work on the Leard State Forest site.

Entrances to the site have also been blocked.

Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Emma Giles told Echonetdaily this morning the coal mine should never have been approved because the company, Whitehaven Coal, provided false information about its biodiversity offsets in order to secure federal environmental approval.

‘We call on (environment) minister Greg Hunt to immediately revoke that approval,’ Ms Giles said.

‘The truth is it’s impossible to offset the loss of this irreplaceable biodiversity hotspot,’ she said.

‘The 1,100 hectares of forest this mine wants to clear is home to a critically endangered ecosystem, and the dodgy “offsets” that Whitehaven are planning cannot replace its loss.’

The campaign to stop the Maules Creek coal mine has brought together local residents and farmers, environmentalists and traditional owners.

The blockade, now in its third week, has also drawn international attention.

‘It has shone a light on the broader struggle of communities across Australia, battling to protect their land, water, and future from coal mining,’ Ms Giles said.

‘We will continue that fight this mine. The support that we are receiving from around the country, and the world, is a big encouragement.’

Meanwhile, blockade campaigners paid an impromptu visit to the offices of Whitehaven Coal in Boggabri on Wednesday urging the release of the independent review of the company’s offsets plan for the mine.

A blockade spokesperson, Phil Spark, said condition 10 of the approval under the EPBC (Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation) Act required Whitehaven coal to publish the review.

‘This independent review was completed in December 2013 and both Whitehaven and the federal government have denied conservation groups and citizens access to the document,’ Mr Sparks said.

‘Former environment minister Tony Burke’s approval conditions have not been met.’

A protester in a tree tripod at the Maules Creek mine site. Photo leardstateforest/Flickr.com
A protester in a tree tripod at the Maules Creek mine site. Photo leardstateforest/Flickr.com

 


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks to all the protectors out there. It’s good to see a united front among the majority of the communities against wanton destruction of irreplaceable habitat and the desire to transition to a clean energy future that doesn’t involve consuming our planet and well being in the process. The fossil fuel industry should start investing in a renewable energy future and listen to communities.

  2. No need for a parliament or laws or community services. All we need do is hand decision making over the the rabble. Easy.
    Might need to open a dole office at the site though……

  3. Good One Geoff,
    An article about Government and Big Coal defying the rules and those who question this are berated as “rabble”! GO THE RABBLE !!!

  4. Indeed, parliament and laws seem not to apply when “the business” won’t follow the law. Naturally “Geoff” and his ilk blame the poor, unemployed, caring people and other such “vermin”. It is his only weapon in the fight. Unfortunately for his line of argument, many of the protectors are self funded but You can bet your life the companies will be squealing for corporate welfare e.g. police supplied by the State. That should help them rape our land.
    Better open a dole office for the dupes that Whitehaven have suckered into helping them. Community action and support WILL win the day. After all, we are a democratic nation, aren’t we??

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