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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

11th day of action at Newcastle Coal Port

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Katta on a traverse line north of Singleton in the Hunter Valley. Photo supplied

Activists are now in their 11th day of action at the World’s largest coal port in Newcastle as they use direct action to draw attention to the impact of fossil fuels on global heating. 

When functioning at full capacity the Hunter coal supply chain has a ten thousand ton coal train moving along it every 15 to 20 minutes. The current protests have led to 70+ hours of disruption to one of the world’s largest fossil fuel supply chains through the Newcastle Port.

At 6.30 this morning Katta (27) climbed onto a traverse line that had been strung up between Glennies Creek rail bridge and a nearby tree, 10kms north of Singleton in the Hunter Valley. 

Katta, who successfully took the government to court last year, is currently hanging on an elevated traverse stated:

‘Through my many years of environmental work, I have realised that the traditional mechanisms we are given, like voting and legal action, are powerless in genuinely addressing climate change.

‘I successfully took the Australian government to court for failing to disclose climate risk in their sale of government bonds, yet this groundbreaking win was able to be nullified by those in power because this system is built to protect powerful interests. If we wait and rely on the traditional avenues of change-making, we will forever be waiting while this system hurtles us towards climate collapse.

‘We cannot rely on the Australian system to prevent climate collapse when it has always prioritised the interests of those with entrenched power.

‘History has shown us that the only way to challenge corporate power and the rich is through disruptive action that stops the real functioning of the economic processes that are destroying the living planet.’ 

Locked and loaded

Katta’s action comes just hours after Kalpa (65) climbed onboard and locked onto a loaded coal train last night stopping all train movements along the Hunter rail corridor for over three hours.

‘Climate collapse and ecological devastation happening in this continent and all over the world is what drives me to take this action today. I want to show ordinary people, just like me, how easy it is to take these kind of steps. Direct action is an attempt to have a strong protest voice,’ said Kapla.

‘Australia is driving climate collapse through its rampant extraction and exportation of resources. A system built on infinite growth is completely unsustainable no matter which political party is in power or how many renewables projects are built. We cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet.’ 


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9 COMMENTS

  1. It is so wonderful to see that some people still care about what a disgraceful mess these governments are making of our once glorious world.
    Cheers, G”)

  2. I wonder how many people realise that the majority of that coal is metallurgical coal used for steel production. “Metallurgical coal is an essential ingredient in the production of steel, making it one of the most widely used building materials on earth.”

    Wind turbines, solar farms, hydroelectric dams, and more, are all steel-intensive infrastructure that underpin renewable energy production as are the transmission towers. If the world is to successfully limit the impacts of climate change, it will be relying on steel to help it get there.

    Things aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. Funnily enough!

    • Lizardbreath, “I wonder how many people realise that the majority of that coal is metallurgical coal used for steel production”, you have the numbers and the source for your claim?

      • “Australia exported an estimated 335 million tonnes of coal in 2022–23. Coal exports are typically split 60:40 by volume between Queensland and New South Wales. But Queensland’s exports are about 75% metallurgical coal and 25% thermal coal (and some thermal coal is a by-product of metallurgical coal). New South Wales is about 20% metallurgical and 80% thermal.”
        aspistrategist.org.au ( Throttling Australia’s coking coal exports won’t help world decarbonise)
        Do the maths.

        It further states:
        “In August, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek signed off on a 50-year extension to the permit for the Gregory Crinum coal mine, 60 kilometres northeast of Emerald in Central Queensland.

        “This decision provoked outrage from climate campaigners and some high-profile parliamentarians. ‘There can be no new coal mines if we are to avoid dangerous climate change,’ said the Australia Institute.

        “But what would denying the permit achieve? …”

        “The Gregory Crinum mine produces metallurgical coal used in steelmaking.”

        And:
        “But let’s take the ‘shut it down’ position to its logical conclusion. Australia exported 884 million tonnes of iron ore in 2022—almost all from just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It takes 1.6 tonnes of iron ore to produce 1 tonne of crude steel. Of necessity, our iron ore customers must consume 450 million tonnes of coal in their furnaces. Do we start shutting that down, too?

        • Whoa there Lizardbreath.
          The article refers to the port of Newcastle.
          This is all very nice what you’ve written but nothing specifically relating the the issue at hand, the port of Newcastle and the coal – thermal and metallurgical – that is shipped from there.
          You haven’t provided the information. I’ll guess you haven’t got it, you could have just said that.
          I can’t find the info either, I’ve tried looking into Port of Newcastle Reports, but ‘Coal’ exports aren’t divided up, thermal / metallurgical.
          The Hunter Valley, source of Port of Newcastle coal exporting, is predominantly of thermal coal.
          I think we can safely say that it is mostly thermal coal leaving Newcastle. I would love to know the actual ratio of thermal – metallurgical and the tonnes.
          If you do find the numbers, please let us know.

          • As the port of Newcastle is the biggest coal port in the country, and one of the biggest in the world, I think we can safely assume quite a lot of metallurgical coal goes from there. I don’t think Kata, though very well meaning, was worried about that stuff while dangling up there

            My point is that it’s always easier to impress the general public with short slogans – axe the tax, stop the boats, no more coal and gas – than it is to explain the broader picture. And the Greens and the Coalition know it!

            I know – it’s the science, the science! Another oft repeated line. The thing is, the science also shows those dreadful commodities are playing their part in the renewables revolution. Or do you think we can just do without electricity?

          • You didn’t read the bit about how much thermal coal is needed in the production of steel either.

            It’s all very fine to say we should have solar panels on every rooftop (true) but ignore the background. We also talk about how we can’t now say to 2nd and 3rd world countries, we stuffed up the globe getting rich but now you must be content to live without power.

            Diesel powered generators produce greenhouse gases also but when fuel trucks are stopped entering Gaza to power hospitals etc some, with justification, call it genocide.

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