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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Anti-mine campaigners immobilise drill rig

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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
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Two people have immobilised a drill rig at the controversial Maules Creek coal mine site  in the Leard State Forest.

Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Phil Evans said Sydney man Michael Poland, 21,  scaled a 20-metre high drill rig and Christina Hobbs, 30, locked herself to a nearby dozer.

‘This has happened in the midst of a massive police operation that has seen Maules Creek locals targeted for random searches of vehicles and numerous road blockages causing unwarranted delays,’ Mr Evans said.

Ms Hobbs, a food security economist, said, ‘It’s time to stand up for the rights of Australian farmers, the future of our agriculture, and our climate.

‘It is economically scandalous to destroy prime agricultural land and river systems for the short term profits of coal barons,’ she said.

‘Our politicians have failed to stand against big coal, but this week we have shown that ordinary Australians will.’

Mr Poland, who travelled from Sydney to stand with the local community, said, ‘this mining development, this government and the police, by enforcing unjust restrictions, are acting to protect economic benefit of a few mining magnates above the basic human rights of the community.
‘They are maliciously endangering our land, our water, our climate and even a local farmer’s right to go to church,’ he said.
Late last week, police road blocks, set up in reaction to community protest, prevented long term Maules Creek resident and Boggabri parishioner, Wilma Laird, from attending church services over Easter.

NSW police have also deployed a helicopter, sniffer dogs and a tracker dog unit to Gunnedah in an operation that will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

’Why should the local community be inconvenienced while Whitehaven Coal carry on business as usual?’ Mr Evans said.
‘The approval of this project has been a farce from the start and has never taken into consideration the community’s opposition. In light of the political turmoil around Whitehaven and other mining projects, including the ICAC investigation, the only logical response is for a Royal Commission into the mining approvals process,’ he said.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. So proud if my nephew, Michael Poland, standing up for this community. Mining has to stop. It’s out of control, destroying so much if our future. I can still remember as a child the propaganda sold to us that the mining in and around Muswellbrook and Singleton would not destroy the environment, it will be replanted back. What a joke – it’s an eyesore but more it’s destroyed farming and has changed the community. We need to take a stand and say no to mining!!

  2. Time magazine this week (1st May) reported that China’s ground water is 60% polluted and unusable – not to mention their devastated air and land pollution. The fact in this country that the police are the private henchmen of the corporate raiders is disgusting. To have to witness this wonton greed and degradation is unbearable. “It is not OK to wreck the planet. It is unacceptable to profit from wrecking the planet”. I am demonstrating at Bentley and all the people who are standing up to this vandalism are my heroes. The brave souls at Maules Creek have so many of us standing with them in spirit.

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