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Byron Shire
July 27, 2021

Whitehaven ‘bulldozing 5000 acres’ of forest

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A Leard Forest protector unveils a banner up a tree proclaiming the urgency of the group's red alert. Photo frontlineaction.org
A Leard Forest protector unveils a banner up a tree proclaiming the urgency of the group’s red alert. Photo frontlineaction.org


Note: An earlier version of this story said Whitehaven were bulldozing 500 hectares – this should have read 500 acres.

Major tree clearing in Leard State Forest for the Maules Creek Coal mine will be interrupted by protestors for a third day today, according to the website frontlineaction.org.

But the news from the group’s broadcast SMS is rather more dire.

‘Bulldozing of 5000 acres of unique forest habitat has started,’ the call to action reads.

Earlier this morning, a 24-year-old woman was reported to be suspended from a platform that attached by cable to some of the threatened trees, preventing bulldozers for Whitehaven Coal from clearing part of the forest for an open-cut coal pit.

A management plan for the mine previously prevented clearing at this time of year, but was changed for Whitehaven by the NSW planning department just two weeks ago.

Leard Forest Alliance spokeswoman Roselyn Druce said, ‘We are here because of a comprehensive failure across government to uphold any standard of environmental protection in Leard State Forest.

‘Over 150 people have been arrested trying to stop this terrible mine in the last four months because the rules have been bent to breaking point for Whitehaven Coal and we’re fed up with it.’

Yesterday, the state opposition joined the NSW Greens in calling for a halt to the clearing during the cold months, to protect wildlife that are in hibernation, and cannot escape.

Environment minister Rob Stokes has yet to act on the calls.

‘Will anyone from the government ever come out here to see the result of their craven decisions to let Whitehaven Coal run amok in this forest?’ Ms Druce asked.

‘Since we put out a call to action at the beginning of this week, many more people have joined this blockade. We want the NSW government to intervene, but if they won’t, we will fight Whitehaven Coal for every inch of this forest.’

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  1. This State Government seems all for Corporations and stomping on our environment and future economies after all our resources are taken and forests ecosystems trashed. They use our tax money to operate at a loss. Shipping our wealth overseas and leaving us with no inventory for the future. Not a very good business model for us but I’m sure a few people are getting rich quick at our expense and at the expense of our children’s future. Packing the car and heading for Leard State Forest!

  2. According to the SMH this year, Maules Creek farmers have spent about $40,000 to produce experts’ reports aimed at countering the claims by the miners’ experts, but this was not enough to persuade the NSW Coalition government to reject the plan by the listed Whitehaven Coal to develop a 320-million-tonne, open-cut coalmine that will consume a swath of the Leard State Forest, which is named after Laird’s ancestors. This Government approved the new mine last October, even though the forest is ranked as “tier one” biodiversity in its draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plan, which means it is vegetation of critical importance to maintaining biodiversity. Whitehaven’s environmental impact statements affirm the unique biodiversity of one of the state’s last stands of box gum. At-risk fauna include the iconic koala and 33 other threatened species. Former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Mark Vaille, is chairman of Whitehaven.. The original Whitehaven Mine near Gunnedah was officially opened in 2001 by NSW Labor’s then mineral resources minister Eddie Obeid. ……………mmmmm

  3. What’s an acre? Oz hasn’t had acres or acreage for half a century! It’s been hectares & hectarage according to my Aust Oxford English Dictionary, for almost 50 years probably before the writer of this article was born! I, being sedulous not indolent like the writer of this article, I metricated when the Metric Conversion Act of 1970 was enacted – I was 31. If you want to remain indolent why don’t you use roods, rods, perches, chains, shekels, pounds, shillings, pence etc as well as imperial (no it doesn’t deserve upper case “I”!! Of course you could drag yourself, kicking & screaming no doubt, into the 21st century, become sedulous Like I, and be a Leader instead of a crankyanker culture follower! It’s easy to convert – just multiply acres by 0.4. – 100 acres x 0.4 = 40ha (hectares) so the number of ha in the hectarage in this article is 5000 x 0.4 = 2000ha. If you wish to remain slothful multiply the ha in a hectarage x 2.5. 2000ha x 2.5 = 5000 “acres”.(2000 + 2000 +1000). If you want to be a Leader you might also consider kilometrage not mileage, metreage not footage, litreage not pints, quarts or gallons (the US has a “US gal different from imperial gal.), landmark not milestone, bloke not guy, tonnage not tonnage (that’s a trick) and vision not footage. C’mon Cobbers, help me preserve our Australian language instead of losing it to pommie and crankyanker cultures.

    • Sure Trevor, but I think your complaint should be directed to the author of the SMS activist alert, rather than to the ‘writer of the article’.


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