Anti coal protests hit the Hunter

Anti-coal protestors have scaled a crane at a coal loader construction site in Newcastle.

According to the group Rising Tide "activists entered the 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".

This is the fourth protest by such groups in the space of a week.

To date protesters have targeted mines, railways, and port infrastructure.

Rising Tide spokesperson Steve Phillips stated that “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.”

Earlier Police were forced to remove activists from a ten metre high tripod at the Hunter 8 Alliance rail compound, which followed two consecutive days of protests against the Boggabri mine in the Gunnedah Basin.

These recent protests have been slammed by the NSW Minerals Council.

"The anti-coal protests over the last 72 hours by activists ideologically opposed to coal mining have wasted valuable emergency services resources and impeded the jobs of the thousands of people who rely on mining for their incomes," the council said.

Speaking at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum in Newcastle yesterday, NSWMC chief Stephen Galilee said the groups are deliberately attempting to destabilise mining, the central pillar of the Hunter Valley's economy.

“In the last few days we have seen protestors chain themselves to fences, forcing valuable police resources to be diverted from regular duties to remove them; we have seen active rail work sites on the Hunter Valley coal line tampered with posing a serious safety risk; and we have even heard mining in the Hunter Valley compared to the Chernobyl disaster,” Galilee said.

“What’s particularly disappointing is that hardened political activists are harnessing legitimate community concerns as part of a coordinated campaign.”

“Like other industries, mining does have an impact.  We are working closely with community leaders and action groups through forums such as the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue to develop direct plans to address concerns like dust and rehabilitation.

“However, to compare mining to Chernobyl is irresponsible. It's not constructive in any way and damages the reputation of the Hunter as a place to live, bring up families and do business.”

This is not the first time Rising Tide has taken action in Newcastle.

Earlier this year protestors blocked the harbour by sailing kayaks into it.

Video of the protest:



Image: Rising Tide

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