Two hundred people rallied outside the Queensland parliament on March 5 to oppose plans by coal seam gas company QGC to expand its operations near the town of Tara, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane. Friends of the Earth campaigner Drew Hutton chaired the rally. Other speakers included Tara resident Scott Collins as well as campaigners and farmers from the Lock The Gate Alliance — a national campaign to keep coal seam gas companies off private land.
The Greens candidate for Heathcote in the NSW elections, Phil Smith, has renewed his party’s call for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining in the state. He said gas extraction poses real risks for communities throughout the Heathcote electorate, a seat that spans from southern Sydney to the northern Illawarra. The Labor state government recently approved 15 coal seam gas wells in the northern Illawarra region. “The Greens are leading the call for an immediate moratorium,” Smith told Green Left Weekly.
In a joint statement on February 25, indigenous communities that make up the Native Federation of Madre de Dios River and Tributaries in south-eastern Peru rejected a military crackdown on illegal mining on their lands. The statement said it was a “false solution to a problem that has social and economic roots”. Environment minister Antonio Bracks authorised the operation in mid February —involving about 1000 police and infantrymen — to destroy illegal mining equipment including bombing of dredges.
Under heavy public pressure, the South Australian government of Labor Premier Mike Rann appears to be wavering in its support for mining uranium in the Arkaroola wilderness in the state’s north. On February 18, the Adelaide Advertiser gave front-page headlines to reports that Arkaroola, a privately-held nature sanctuary and ecotourism site in the Flinders Ranges about 600 kilometres north of the state capital, could be declared a national park.
In a humble local court in Newcastle on January 31, a major battle in the war on climate change began. A court is a theatrical space where we can overhear the clashing narratives around a central event. The defendants were six of the seven men and women from climate action group Rising Tide — dubbed the Rising Tide Seven. Posing as workers, they entered a Newcastle coal-loading facility before dawn on September 26 and locked themselves to the equipment 30 metres above ground. Work was brought to a halt.
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Plans by the NSW Liberal/National coalition to cut $3.8 billion in state spending is yet more evidence that the Coalition is no alternative to the Labor Party in New South Wales. If anything, opposition leader Barry O’Farrell’s plan to cut public sector jobs and services will make things even worse. O’Farrell is hoping to romp in to government in the March state elections — not because people support his policies, but because people are so fed up with Labor. NSW voters deserve to know what the Coalition actually stands for, but it has said very little so far about its real policies.
Margaret River, a town on the southwest coast of Australia, is an important agricultural area, supporting olive farms, dairies and livestock. It attracts tourists from all over the country eager to check out its famous beaches, forests, artists and wineries. But residents were shocked when news surfaced in July that a proposed coalmine will be built just 15 kilometres from the town centre.
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Carrying signs such as "Coal seam gas stinks", "Gas mining under Sydney Park - no fracking way!", and "Gutless government giving in to gas", over 400 local residents and supporters rallied on December 19 at Sydney Park to protest the NSW government's secretive approval for exploratory drilling for coal seam gas (CSG) mining in the inner-western suburb of St Peters.