Protesters unfurled a giant banner at Melbourne’s Flinders Street railway station this morning calling for an end to Australia’s coal industry.
The protesters used ropes and harnesses to scale the building and expose a sign reading:
“Get off the coal train and get on the renewables track"
While Victoria has a quite small coal industry compared to NSW and Queensland, the state has rich reserves of brown coal which it has been pushing to better develop and export.
“You can drill a coal seam gas well within 100 metres of a home but residents can veto a wind farm within two kilometres of their home,” Chloe Aldenhoven, a Quit Coal spokeswoman said, SMH reported.
“That's despite the well-documented health effects and the effects on land … coal seam gas can be absolutely disastrous.”
“We can't have a carbon tax on the one hand and expect a coal-mining and coal-seam gas industry on the other if we are really serious about climate change,” she said.
Protests against coal have been on the increase in recent months, with anti-coal campaigns present in much of the country.
Last month six Greenpeace activists boarded a stationary coal ship in the Coral Sea in protest of Australia’s coal mining industry.
A spokesman for Greenpeace called on the wider public to protest against increasing coal exports.
"We are calling on the rest of Australia to take whatever action is possible to ensure that we do not double our coal exports. We cannot deal with the climate change that will result from that."
While in NSW anti mining group Lock the Gate launched a national campaign calling for immediate law reforms for the mining industry.
"We have accepted coalmining in the past, we have recognised its risks but welcomed its contribution,” the group said.
"But it's gone too far."
Industry bodies have called on environmentalists to use facts in their campaigns
“If you listen to the overblown rhetoric of anti-mining activists you could be forgiven for thinking that mines are engulfing the entire State of NSW. The truth is completely different,” chief of NSW Minerals Council Stephen Galilee said.
While CEO of the Australian Coal Association, Dr Nikki Williams said plans to stop coal mining would have a devastating affect on the economy.
“This is an ideologically driven campaign to stop economic development that will devastate communities across Australia,” she said of the Greenpeace campaign.
“Australia must be, and needs to be seen to be, a stable and reliable producer in the world markets.”