Lock the Gate

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment recommended approval of a new thermal coalmine to the Independent Planning Commission on October 9.

The federal Coalition government is so keen to assist Adani with its mega coalmine project, it is breaking its own laws to do it.

Two–and–a–half years after the suicide of Chinchilla farmer and Lock the Gate activist George Bender, who had led a decade long campaign against fracking, on May 11 Linc Energy was fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

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.

More than 250 people gathered on August 26 for the Frack Free People's Rally organised by Lock the Gate Alliance and Frack Free WA outside the Western Australia State Labor Conference.

Many environmentalists were disappointed, if not outraged, at Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, released on June 9, which sought to stabilise the existing electricity market.

At the same time, the failure of the privatised and deregulated electricity grid led NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham to call for its nationalisation as the only way to solve its intractable problems.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles announced a new policy on Facebookfor the Territory election in August on May 14. The policy, called “Knowledge Territory”, promises $500 education vouchers if the Territory receives royalty payments from onshore gas fracking.

The ALP has announced it will declare a moratorium on fracking if it wins the election and this is Giles’ latest attempt to sell the Country Liberal Party’s position of supporting gas fracking across the Territory.

George Bender, a 68­-year­-old cotton farmer from Chinchilla, Queensland, took his own life on October 14. His family lays the blame squarely with the coal seam gas (CSG) industry he had fought against for a decade.

Describe by his family as “a straight talker” who “told the truth, not the sugar coated bullshit”, George was a
fifth generation farmer in the Western Downs. He stood for the right for a farmer to say “no” to the gas industry.

His family said in an October 20 statement: “[George] was willing to talk openly to anyone who was interested

Opposition to Shenhua Watermark’s unpopular $1.2 billion open-cut coal mine, proposed for the Liverpool Plains in the north-west of NSW, is growing. The Coalition cabinet is split, as are NSW and federal National Party MPs.

Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, who is fighting to hold his New England seat, opposes the mine. His cabinet colleague, federal environment minister Greg Hunt, signed the mine’s approval on July 4.

Opponents of the Stage 3 expansion of the Acland coalmine in the Darling Downs in Queensland have called on the Palaszczuk government to make good on its campaign promises and reject the application by New Hope Coal. This comes in the wake of revelations that the mining company New Hope Group, would receive about 77% of royalties, while the state would get only 7%.

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