Religious Leaders Join Coal Mine Protest

Feature Story - 12 March, 2014
Maules Creek, Wednesday 12 March 2014: Clergy standing with protesters today at Whitehaven Coal’s controversial open-cut coal mine at Maules Creek, near Boggabri in North-West NSW.

Prayer Vigil at Maules Creek

©Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace

In an unprecedented show of support from the faith sector, a prayer vigil was held today near one of the entry points to the mine site in support of the blockade. The gathering includes four Uniting Church Ministers, two Priests, one Catholic and one Buddhist, a number of lay people as well as representatives from the Gomeroi community. They are aligning themselves with those calling for an end to the expansion of the mine into the Leard Forest. It is an inclusive event, with special honouring of the Gomeroi people, the area’s traditional land owners.

©Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace

One of the Whitehaven trucks unable to pass a gate that has been blocked by the chair of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), Thea Ormerod. The group managed to locked all entrance gates to a key construction area of the mine - the main access points for heavy vehicles. The group is responding to the fact that every legal and legislative avenue to stop the open cut coal mine in Maules Creek has failed. Even though not one of the 212 submissions from the community supported the mine, the mine has been approved.
 Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC)
Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), being arrested by local police. ©Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace

UPDATE: 3 religious leaders have been arrested in a protest against Whitehaven's destructive Maules Creek Coal Mine.

Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), Bryon Smith, an Anglican Minister from Paddington, and Jill Burrows, a Catholic parishioner from North Sydney and grandmother of ten, joined with other concerned citizens to block access to the Maules Creek mine site for over two hours today. The three were later arrested by local police.

A Senate Inquiry into the use of environmental offsets and the integrity of the process was announced on 4 March 2014. Greenpeace is calling on the Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, to order all work on Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine and the Galilee Basin in Queensland to stop until the Senate Inquiry reports back on June 16.

Take action

If you’d like to join the blockade and get involved in upcoming events at Maules Creek, write to or sign up here for updates.

Get Updates

If you want to view news and opinions, or join the conversation - use the Twitter hashtag #leardblockade.

You can also contact Environment Minister Greg Hunt through his office on 02 6277 7920 or via twitter @GregHuntMP and ask him to stop construction at the Maules Creek Mine.