Front Line Action on Coal released the statement below on October 25.
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Front Line Action on Coal has vowed to continue its 82-day-long blockade camp in Leard State Forest today following the Barry O'Farrell state government's approval of the the Maules Creek coalmine, claiming the government has “buckled to pressure from its mates”.
Whitehaven Coal would destroy around 1360 hectares of native vegetation (half of which is listed as endangered) as well as huge tracts of productive farmland if the mine was able to proceed following Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke's decision.
“Why can a coal company that is so unsound in terms of finance and governance be allowed to do such damage, given that it might not be around to clean up the mess?” said Front Line Action on Coal spokesperson Murray Dreschler.
As widely reported, Whitehaven's managing director is looking to quit and its entire board may be sacked next week due to uncertainties around its profitability.
“We will not allow Whitehaven to destroy Leard Forest and Maules Creek and we invite the entire community to join us,” said Mr. Dreschler.
“The Planning and Assessment Commission has buckled to pressure from Brad Hazzard's department to water down rehabilitation conditions. Is this because Mark Vaile is the former leader of the National Party, or because deputy chairman John Conde presides the tribunal that decides federal politicians' and judges' salaries, or because the company's lobbyist, Liam Bathgate, used to be Barry O'Farrell's chief of staff?”
“If the government can't say no to its mates in the coal industry, then it's up to the community to stand up for our future."
[For further comment phone Murray Dreschler 0418 754 869.]