Muloobinba/Newcastle

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) organised a “save solar” rally in Newcastle on June 6. The rally was at the office of Liberal MLA Tim Owen and was the latest in a string of protests calling for planned retrospective cuts to NSW’s solar bonus scheme to be abandoned. The rally attracted about 250 people and included many solar industry workers. SEIA representative Chanti Richardson chaired the rally and introduced Solar Newcastle (SN) director Adam Dalby.
Members of climate action group NoPlanetB.org blocked the haulage of coal from Xstrata’s West Wallsend underground mine for several hours on May 30. A climber was suspended in a tunnel entrance on a haul road, used for transferring coal to the port of Newcastle. Others stood in front of trucks. The group sought to raise its concern about the demands from the coal industry, including Xstrata, that pollution from coalmines be exempt from the federal government’s proposed carbon tax.
NEWCASTLE — Four activists from Newcastle climate action group Rising Tide scaled the roof of climate change minister Greg Combet's office on May 16. They attached solar panels to the roof and unfurled a banner that read: “Make polluters pay, fund renewable energy.” Rising Tide spokesperson Naomi Hogan said: “We have put these solar panels up on Minister Combet’s office to highlight the potential of renewable energy to power the nation.
Coal blockaders

A group of 30 people held up construction of a second loader arm at Newcastle's third coal loader site on Kooragang Island on May 10, stopping a crane crew for about 90 minutes.

A tribute to the late Newcastle activist Peter Gray who made headlines as the person who threw his shoes at former Australian Prime Minister John Howard for his support for the invasion of Iraq. 2011 Resistance Conference, Sydney.

Zane Alcorn, candidate for the seat of Newcastle in the NSW state election, speaks from People's Blockade of the World's Biggest Coal Port, 13th March 2011.

 

Many millions of tonnes of coal have been exported since activists dubbed the Rising Tide Seven temporarily shut down coal loaders in Newcastle in September last year. They were convicted on January 31 of “remaining on enclosed lands”. Each was fined $300, plus $79 in court costs. However, on March 3, they were vindicated when magistrate Elaine Truscott rejected the Port Waratah Coal Services’ (PWCS) $525,000 “compensation” claim.
Seven climate activists who temporarily shut down coal loaders at Newcastle harbour in a September protest will wait another month to find out if they owe Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) $525,000 in “compensation”. The activists appeared in Newcastle Local Court for two days of hearings on January 31 and February 3. They were convicted of “remaining on enclosed lands”. Each was fined $300, plus $79 in court costs.
Greens MP David Shoebridge joined members of climate action group Rising Tide Newcastle at a press conference on January 28 to condemn Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) “victim’s compensation” claim of $525,0000 against seven protesters. PWCS is pursuing the claim in response to a peaceful protest organised in September 2010, which stopped coal loading in Newcastle port for almost 10 hours.
Newcastle and the Hunter region have a proud history of energy-related manufacturing. However, since the 1990s the sector has experienced a steady decline, born of decades of neoliberal, free trade policies that encouraged companies to move offshore. Presently, only 10% of the Hunter workforce is employed in the manufacturing sector. But climate change and the need for clean energy alternatives are opening new doors.
The third annual camp for climate action will happen in the Hunter Valley from December 1-5, between the Liddell and Bayswater power stations. The camp will bring will be an important forum for diverse groups to build stronger links with one another.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our future, and coal is the biggest cause of climate change, yet right now there are plans for 12 new coal or gas-fired power stations around Australia. In this context, the Camp for Climate Action is taking place over December 1-5 at Liddell recreation area in the Hunter Valley, a little over an hour inland from Newcastle. The camp will take place near Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations and in the sprawling moonscape of massive coalmines in the area.