Iconic Maules Creek campaign gets boost with national group CEOs pledging full support

Press release - 9 February, 2014
Monday 10 February 2014: In a dramatic upscaling of events, a coalition has been formed to prevent Mark Vaile’s Whitehaven Coal, from destroying the last remaining forest of its kind and to stop the construction of what would be the largest new coal mine in Australia.

For the last few months, hundreds of farmers, Traditional Owners, locals and activists from all over Australia have been blockading the site and slowing down Whitehaven’s efforts to build the mine. Now, a day before Federal Parliament resumes and legislation is tabled to abolish Australia’s modest carbon price, the CEOs of these groups are at the Maules Creek site to demonstrate the support of their organisations.

“By approving this mine and abolishing climate legislation, the Federal Government has confirmed they have no intention of dealing with climate change – our greatest threat,” said David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific. “So we are going to tackle the problem at the source by directly challenging Maules Creek – the largest coal mine currently under construction in Australia."

A helicopter has been made available today to journalists to fly over and verify claims that environmentalists say could bring down this mining project.

“Whitehaven Coal is out of time, out of luck and out of suitable offsets to mitigate destruction of an iconic, sensitive natural area of NSW under significant threat from coal mining,” said Pepe Clarke, CEO of the Nature Conservation Council.

"The approval of the controversial Maules Creek coal mine is in tatters and urgent intervention is required by the Federal Environment Minister," said Phil Laird, Lock the Gate campaigner and fifth generation local farmer.

“Today’s findings will be a shot in the arm for ordinary Australians pledging to take non-violent direct action against the expansion of the coal industry on 350.org’s Summer Heat website,” said 350.org CEO Blair Palese.

“Whitehaven plans to mine a new coal deposit that will be responsible for emitting more than twice the carbon pollution that Greg Hunt’s entire Direct Action Plan might save between 2014 and 2020,” said Greenpeace CEO, David Ritter. “This is why we’re collaborating with this growing movement to deliver our own brand of direct action to oppose this mine.”

A chartered helicopter is also being used to gather evidence required in order to force the federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, to make an urgent decision under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act. An urgent protection order requested by Gomeroi Traditional Custodians, has so far been in limbo for 90 days.

For further information, call Julie Macken on 0400 925 217