Climate change protest at ALP office

Issue 

Chanting "ALP's hands are black, we want our future back", members of the Rising Tide environment group protested outside the ALP's NSW head office on February 27 against a proposed new coal export terminal in Newcastle.

The protest, involving 15 people, barricaded the office in Sussex Street, demanding that Premier Morris Iemma's Labor government declare its intentions regarding the coal port before, rather than after, the March 24 NSW election.

Steve Phillips from Rising Tide Newcastle said in a media release: "Every year, 66 million tonnes of coal would be exported [through the new terminal], the equivalent of doubling NSW greenhouse pollution from all sources — every power station, every vehicle, every steel mill and cement factory, every land-clearing operation, the lot. They would all be eclipsed by the greenhouse pollution from just one project in Newcastle."

Environmental activists believe that the ALP plans to approve the proposed terminal but is shamefacedly refusing to announce it before the state election.

The protest barred entry to the ALP office for around two hours. Two protesters, Annika Dean and Naomi Hodgson, were charged with trespass and are due to appear at Downing Centre local court on April 10.

Phillips told Green Left Weekly that the group was "going to be stepping up the campaign as much as possible. There are state and federal elections this year, and while both major parties want to paint themselves as leaders on climate change, neither want to do anything about coal exports."