'Stop Adani' taken to the sand of Coffs Harbour beach
THE Coffs Coast may lie some 1000km south of the proposed $16 billion Adani Carmichael coal mine, but the tyranny of distance did nothing to dull the passion of local protesters today.
A national day of action to oppose the proposed Queensland coal mine saw thousands of protesters turn out in locations across Australia including Coffs Harbour's Park Beach.
As Adani pledges to start work this month on what would be one of the biggest coal mines in the world, and in the wake of an explosive ABC 4Corners program, Coffs Coast locals dressed in red and black today gathering on Park Beach in their hundreds to create a giant human sign spelling "Stop Adani".
Speakers included Greens Coffs Harbour City councillor Sally Townley, Michael Jarrett, Gumbaynggirr elder, Jenny Ellis, Gamilaroi Elder, Jeremy Buckingham, Greens NSW MLC Marnie Cotton and John Ross from the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group
"The Coffs Coast is experiencing an exceptionally dry, warm year, with many residents on tank water running dry and experiencing long waits to fill up, and others having to manage out-of-season bushfires. This is one face of climate change," protester and Coffs Coast Climate Action Group spokesperson, Liisa Rusanen said.
"Dangerous extremes in weather will get worse and harder to manage if we keep digging up and burning coal and gas. We're taking action today to call for a rapid change in direction.
"We've had an overwhelming response from the community to the Stop Adani campaign here in Coffs.
"People can't comprehend why the Government would give $1billion of taxpayer money to a dubious company like Adani, throwing in free water and coal, while allowing the destruction of the Reef, farmland and sacred sites.
"Most of us see that renewable energy is a far better option. Luke Hartsuyker and the rest of the government need to catch up.
"We're here today to spell it out for them: Stop Adani. This is our line in the sand. The age of coal is over. It's time to upgrade to 100% renewable energy," she said.
The Stop Adani movement today released new, national ReachTEL polling claiming that:
● A clear majority (56%) of Australians now oppose Adani's coal project.
● In relation to the controversial prospect of a $1 billion loan of public money to Adani, two thirds of Australians believe the Queensland Government should keep its election promise to not spend public money on Adani's private rail line. The poll shows 66% of Australians want the Queensland government to use its power to veto the loan.
The Stop Adani Alliance has more than doubled its membership since its launch in March 2017 and now has 31 member organisations. More than 160 local Stop Adani groups have also formed.
It was announced on the beach that today's Coffs Harbour protest attracted up to 750 people.