Activists opposed to the opening up of coalmining in Queensland’s Galilee Basin have taken to the streets in local actions calling on Coalition and Labor MPs to stop the Adani coalmine from going ahead.
On May 18, activists in Ballarat protested outside the local MPs office and on May 19 more than 200 gathered outside the Camberwell office of environment minister Josh Frydenberg. Rallies were also held in Brisbane and Adelaide.
In the Sydney rally, about 400 people rallied at Marrickville Town Hall on May 19, before marching along the main street past Labor’s infrastructure spokesperson Anthony Albanese’s office. The rally was addressed by Stop Adani Sydney members Gillian Reffell and Isaac Astill and featured a brass band and a life-size cardboard cut-out of Albanese.
Reffell gave a detailed account of the impact the proposed mine will have on the local environment, economic and social infrastructure, the Great Barrier Reef, the local Indigenous community and climate change. She said: “If Labor, and Mr Albanese, are serious about taking genuine action to stop climate change, they must oppose the Adani coalmine and commit to stop it.”
Astill said the group had so far door-knocked two suburbs and conducted a survey that showed more than 80% of voters in Albanese’s electorate opposed the Adani mine going ahead.
The rally welcomed the May 17 decision of AECOM, which had been contracted for engineering and construction work on the mine, to finish up with Adani. Adani put a positive spin on this latest setback, saying that the mine would still go ahead.
The focus of the national Stop Adani campaign is to break the Coalition/Labor nexus in the lead-up to the federal election. In spite of the groundswell of opposition to new coal which is echoed in public statements by individual Labor MPs, Albanese has stonewalled. His response to Saturday’s rally was “It’s very strange that this group protested about a mine that is not happening, didn’t bother to invite me to speak and have ignored the Liberal government that approved the project.”
In recent elections Albanese has had a close race against Greens candidates in his inner city seat. He would do well to listen to his electorate and join Labor members who oppose the expansion of coalmining in the Galilee Basin.