Richard Jackson

Pressure is mounting on Australia’s big four banks over their support for the construction of coalmines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Greenpeace launched a public email campaign targeting the executives of ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac, “to publicly rule out financing or advising Adani [Mining] on the Carmichael coal mine and associated infrastructure project in the Great Barrier Reef or Queensland”.
Three new coalmines have been approved by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission, just weeks before the state election. The new coalmines will be in Bengalla, near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, the Watermark Coal Project, near Gunnedah on the Liverpool Plains and Moolarben, north-east of Mudgee.
Protest and counter-protest descended on Penrith on December 8 as Penrith’s council voted to uphold their decision to allow the construction of an Islamic community centre in Kemps Creek. Various far right groups turned up to show their opposition to the construction of the two-storey centre, including the Australia First Party, with chairman Jim Saleam present, as well as the Australian Defence League, Party for Freedom and Squadron 88. Counter-protestors in support of the centre’s construction included various left groups, the Greens and Antifa, the anti-fascist group.
A report conducted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has shown environmental concerns and technical lapses in coal seam gas (CSG) mining by Santos at their sites in Gunnedah and the Pilliga Forest, NSW. The report, published in Fairfax Media, is an audit from May last year.
Nineteen demonstrators have been arrested since October 21 in protests against the recent approval of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Gloucester Valley, New South Wales. Police figures obtained by Green Left Weekly said charges range from trepassing, to individuals locking on to machinery or the buses transporting workers to the site. Fracking is the controversial process of extracting gas from underground coal seams and shale deposits by using high pressure to inject it with a chemical-water mixture.