Rally protests Whitehaven Coal AGM

Issue 
Whitehaven Coal has ignored ignoring the wishes of communities living near its mining projects, protesters say.

About 50 people rallied outside the Mint Bistro in Macquarie Street on October 28, carrying placards and black balloons marked CO2, to protest against Whitehaven Coal’s annual general meeting being held inside.

The protesters accused the company of ignoring the wishes of communities living near mining projects in the Leard National Forest and at Maules Creek in northern NSW.

Stephen Talbot, a spokesperson for the traditional owners of the Leard Forest land, the Gomeroi people, said Whitehaven was preventing elders from accessing the land for spiritual ceremonies. "They have no respect for us as Aboriginal people and the first people of this country, and they also have no respect for our culture and heritage," he told the Australian on October 28.

A Greenpeace banner reading "Whitehaven Coal = No Future" was prominent. Other placards said, "Whitehaven Coal: No social licence; No future," and "Whitehaven Coal: Corrupt and Destructive."

Greenpeace Australia Pacific said: "Much has been written about the financial state of Whitehaven Coal Company (WHC). Even more has been written about the divestment campaign currently building across Australia. But the greatest amount of coverage has been given to the growing opposition now confronting WHC. These three facts are intimately related.

"WHC is now almost two years behind schedule. The company insists it will move first coal from the Maules Creek mine by the first quarter of 2015. It may or may not. But whether it manages to get some coal to market, it will find itself facing a perfect storm of opposition.

"This storm is an unholy mix of thermal coal in structural decline, with reduced global demand, over-supply and a tightening global carbon budget, coupled with massive community resistance and on-going protests.”

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