‘Cows not coal’ protest against New Acland coalmine

Protesters outside New Hope Coal’s AGM in Ipswich on November 16.

Activists from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, Great Sandy Strait Saviours and Lock the Gate gathered in the park across the road from New Hope Coal’s AGM in Ipswich on November 16 with a message for shareholders.

Accompanied by a giant inflatable cow, the protesters’ message was that New Hope is wasting its money on legal battles and public relations campaigns.

Oakey Coal Action Alliance secretary Paul King told the protest the consequences would be dire for more than just the environment if New Hope’s Acland Stage 3, near Oakey on the Darling Downs, was allowed to go ahead.

"Our presence here is to emphasise to shareholders that to pursue Acland Stage 3, in light of its rejection, could be folly,” he said. "It has been rejected through the court process, but New Hope is attempting to buy consent from the public with a massive campaign that we estimate is worth $3 million.”

King told the rally 10 million litres of milk from the Oakey area was at stake if Acland Stage 3 goes ahead and it would “mean the end of families who have been on that land for generations”.

King said he respected the situation faced by mining workers, but that a transition was required away from such industries.

"We absolutely support a just transition for workers in the fossil fuel industry to new and emerging industries,” he said.

"We know that coal is in decline and it is a sad but inevitable fact that these jobs will disappear.

"We will do what we can to ensure those workers get the dignity they deserve, but not at the expense of others, and that is the point; they are not the only people in this equation.”

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