Fight against coal mine to feature in essay
Greenpeace Australia chief executive and author David Ritter will immortalise Margaret River’s fight against the Osmington coal mine in words.
A planned long-form essay for the Griffiths Review could form the basis for a book on the community’s No Coalition fight against the proposed mine, which started in 2010, serving as a sequel to Ritter’s heralded The Coal Truth.
He said the idea had its genesis when he appeared at last year’s Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival.
“I was aware of the campaign in Margaret River to keep coal out for eminently sensible reasons,” he said. “I thought it was really significant. The people of Margaret River had shown Margaret River was more important than coal mining.”
Speaking with anti-coal campaigners Ian Parmenter and Peter Lane during the festival shed more light on the community campaign, which was led by convenor Brent Watson and featured a who’s who of residents as well as garnering international support from celebrities such as Michael Palin.
Ritter said the story showed the importance of grassroots media unearthing threats to community wellbeing and the role of individuals taking the fight to the highest levels of government.
No Coalition convenor and farmer Brent Watson said any coverage of the campaign should highlight how social licence and residents’ concerns risked getting crushed by WA’s “all-powerful Mining Act”.
He said Ritter’s analysis had to recognise the broad role of many community members.
The after-effects of the battle — including the recent collapse of a fresh foray into mineral extraction in the region, unanimously opposed by the Shire of AugustaMargaret River council — was the real focus, he said.
The article is likely to be published later this year.
Greenpeace Australia chief executive David Ritter will capture the Margaret River coal mine story for an upcoming national feature essay.