Activists stop coal port construction project
Two activists have been released from police custody after scaling a crane at a Newcastle coal terminal, stopping work on the construction of new coal loading facilities.
They have been charged with enter enclosed lands, and will be in Newcastle local court in October.
Protesters entered the NCIG coal terminal construction site on Kooragang Island before dawn this morning, and two scaled the crane, unfurling a banner reading “Stop the coal rush! For health, water & climate.”
Today's protest is the fourth consecutive stop-work action against NSW coal projects this week. Activists have targeted expansions of the three major elements of the coal chain – mines, railway, and port infrastructure – to highlight the unprecedented coal rush taking place in NSW, and its impacts on public health and the environment.
Rising Tide spokesperson Steve Phillips said: “There is an unprecedented coal rush under way in NSW. Public health, waterways, ecosystems, and the global climate are under assault.”
“Local communities are resisting the coal rush at every step of the way, challenging new mines and port developments that place the profits of coal companies ahead of the public good.”
“But both State and Federal Governments have taken the side of the coal companies. NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard and Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke continue to approve every coal project that arrives on their desks. Communities are crying out for help, but governments are ignoring them.”
“Enough is enough. We need to stop the coal rush. It's time for State and Federal governments to stop kowtowing to the mining companies, and get behind community demands for a clean, renewable future.”
Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) is a consortium of coal mining companies headed by BHP Billiton. The Chairman of NCIG is former NSW Treasurer Michael Egan.
Mining companies propose to boost Newcastle coal exports to 300 Mtpa by 2020 up from 114 million tonnes last year. This equates to more than 800 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution. Australia's domestic carbon dioxide pollution is 550 Mtpa.
There are 34 coal mine proposals before the NSW Planning Department at the time of writing, almost all would produce coal for export through Newcastle.
The coal terminal protest is taking place on Cormorant Road, Kooragang Island. Photos and video will be available at http://www.mediafire.com/?ubdbfei8mrw3j