Protest stops Newcastle coal port project

Anti-coal activists scaling a crane at a Newcastle coal terminal. Photo: Rising Tide/Facebook

Rising Tide released the statement below on September 6.

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Activists are scaling a crane at a Newcastle coal terminal, stopping work on the construction of new coal loading facilities.

Activists entered the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) coal terminal construction site on Kooragang Island before dawn this morning, and two people are now scaling the crane, preparing to unfurl a banner reading “Stop the coal rush! For health, water & climate.”

Today's protest is the fourth consecutive stop-work action against NSW coal projects this week. Activists have targeted expansions of the three major elements of the coal chain — mines, railway, and port infrastructure — to highlight the unprecedented coal rush taking place in NSW, and its impacts on public health and the environment.

Rising Tide spokesperson Steve Phillips said: “There is an unprecedented coal rush under way in NSW. Public health, waterways, ecosystems, and the global climate are under assault.

“Local communities are resisting the coal rush at every step of the way, challenging new mines and port developments that place the profits of coal companies ahead of the public good.”

“But both state and federal governments have taken the side of the coal companies. NSW planning minister Brad Hazzard and federal environment minister Tony Burke continue to approve every coal project that arrives on their desks. Communities are crying out for help, but governments are ignoring them.

“Enough is enough. We need to stop the coal rush. It's time for state and federal governments to stop kowtowing to the mining companies, and get behind community demands for a clean, renewable future.”

Key facts:

• Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) is a consortium of coalmining companies headed by BHP Billiton. The Chairman of NCIG is former NSW Treasurer Michael Egan.

• Mining companies propose to boost Newcastle coal exports to 300 million tonnes per annum by 2020 up from 114 million tonnes last year. This equates to more than 800 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution. Australia's domestic carbon dioxide pollution is 550 million tonnes per annum.

• There are 34 coalmine proposals before the NSW planning department at the time of writing, almost all would produce coal for export through Newcastle.