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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Training grandparents and protecting the future

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Grandparents learning how to take non-violent direct action outside the corporate offices of Aurizon in Brisbane. Photo supplied.

Lack of government action on the risks of climate change and in many cases their active endorsement off projects that will have longterm negative impact on the future are galvanising a range of citizens and businesses into action.

Yesterday around ten grandparents headed to the corporate offices of Aurizon, one of the biggest coal transporters in Australia, in Brisbane to begin their campaign to recruit and grandparents on how to take non-violent direct action.

‘Experienced trainers guided them through using heavy duty chains, D-locks around their necks, and specialist arm locks for train lines,’ said Galilee Blockade spokesperson Ben Pennings who helped organise the training session.

‘There was a fair bit of police interest and Aurzion responded with security and police but there were no arrests,’ said Ben.

Are you interested in learning how to take non-violent direct action? Photo supplied.

The aim of the campaign against Aurzion is to convince them not to help Adani or any other new coal project as well as to start covering to cover their coal train wagons so that they limit the impact of dangerous coal dust pollution.

‘The concern is that they will help Adani open up the Galilee Basin,’ said Ben.

The campaign is currently asking any grandparents and other citizens who are willing to take direct, non-violent action around Australia to contact them.

The campaign will target train tracks owned and operated by Aurzion as well as their offices and events they attend to disrupt their operations.

‘People lived in trees and locked onto machinery to save Fraser Island and the Daintree. What makes Aurizon think people won’t stop coal train after coal train to save the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Artesian Basin and Aboriginal Homelands?

‘Adani owes their contractors $17m, have lied to the State Government, and are being prosecuted for polluting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. How can Aurizon or anyone else trust them?

Fight for the reef

World Tourism Day has sparked a call from an alliance of Far North Queensland businesses, including Great Barrier Reef tourism operators that are urging the federal government to fight for the future of the Reef.

Col and David with the signed Reef Climate Declaration. Photo supplied.

In May the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) released a historic Reef Climate Declaration, calling on the federal government to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy.

‘It’s not too late to save the Reef but time is critical’, the statement says. The Declaration is now signed by 150 businesses including the peak tourism industry body, AMPTO, the Cairns Aquarium and the Pullman International Hotel.

Col McKenzie, AMPTO’s Chief Executive says, ‘On World Tourism Day we’re calling on all our political leaders to stand up for Far North Queensland businesses and jobs and demonstrate leadership on climate change to protect the future of our Reef.

‘The Reef is a magnet for people all around the world. It generates $6 billion each year and sustains 64 000 jobs.

‘The Reef is still a beautiful and dynamic place but it’s under serious threat from climate change and we need our leaders to put in place strong climate and energy policies to protect its future,’ he said.

AMCS’s Great Barrier Reef Campaigner David Cazzulino says, ‘Climate change, mainly driven by mining and burning coal and other fossil fuels, is the single biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

‘Taking action on climate change for our Reef means stopping Adani’s polluting coal mine and embracing clean renewable energy.

‘Here in Cairns we’re seeing the impacts of climate change on our Reef but local businesses are joining the fight to protect it.

‘It’s been fantastic to see support from the business community – including cafes, restaurants, hotels, law firms, hairdressers and builders – who want our representatives to step up and protect the Reef.’

Far North Queensland businesses can add their business name to the Reef Climate Declaration by going to Fight For Our Reef

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