By Matthew Pearce
About 20 protestors banded together on the banks of the Fitzroy River on Wednesday, 21 July, to protest Clive Palmer’s proposed coal mine at Ogmore.
Capricorn Conservation Council coordinator Dr Coral Rowston called on the Australian Government to reject the Central Queensland Coal proposal, which is in the hands of Environment Minister, Sussan Ley.
“The Queensland Government has said the mine proposal is not suitable to proceed,” she said.
“She (Sussan Ley) has had the project proposal for over three months now and still has not made her decision, despite advice from scientists and the Queensland Government that this project will impact significantly on the Reef and wetlands.”
A report released in May by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science recommended the proposed mine near Ogmore not go forward due to ‘unacceptable impacts’ on the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage Area, the Styx River Estuary, water sources, and the Broad Sound Fish Habitat.
Dr Rowston said the Rockhampton rally came as UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee was to decide if the Great Barrier Reef will be listed as ‘In Danger’.
“Given Sussan Ley is trying to convince them that it is the best managed reef in the world, our community gathered again together to add our voice and call for her to reject this mine now,” she said.
Dr Rowston said she was happy with the turnout of the protest, considering Rockhampton was in the heart of ‘cattle country’.
Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Jaclyn McCosker said the Australian Government should be working with the rest of the world as we phase out the burning of fossil fuels.
“We have enough coal to supply Australia and our trade partners for decades to come,” she said.
“Queensland doesn’t want or need new coal. Even thinking about a coal mine so close to the Reef is an insult to the community. The coal mine is temporary, but the Reef is irreplaceable.
“Minister Ley must reject this proposal immediately.”
The decision on whether to list the Reef as ‘In Danger’ will be considered at the 44th UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Friday, 23 July.
A partnership between Central Queensland Coal and Fairway Coal Pty Ltd, the proposed Central Queensland Coal Project (formerly Styx Coal Project) would be an open cut operation.
There are plans to extract up to 10 million tonnes per year of product thermal and coking coal and, if approved, construction would start in July 2022.