Min­ers dig in for clash with ‘ rich’ ac­tivists

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JOHN McCARTHY

THE min­ing in­dus­try is head­ing to­wards a huge clash with ac­tivists who now claim whole sec­tions of the com­mu­nity have been “rad­i­calised” against coal, which re­mains Queens­land’s big­gest ex­port.

The in­dus­try is con­tin­u­ing to raise ques­tions about where the groups get their fund­ing af­ter it was re­vealed that the most ac­tive groups have a com­bined rev­enue of $ 100 mil­lion. One in d u s t r y leader said the ac­tivists had “spec­tac­u­larly failed” be­cause sev­eral coal mines had re­opened and a new $ 1.6 bil­lion mine is now in de­vel­op­ment.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull told the LNP con­fer­ence at the week­end that peo­ple who say coal and other fos­sil fu­els had no fu­ture were delu­sional. But six years af­ter the ac­tivist blue­print “Stop­ping the coal ex­port boom” was writ­ten, one of its au­thors, John Hep­burn, said the clash was only go­ing to get big­ger.

“The com­mu­nity move­ment to stop new coal and gas pro­jects such as the Adani mine is grow­ing ev­ery day and will only get big­ger as cli­mate change im­pacts be­come im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore,” Mr Hep­burn said.

“The min­ing in­dus­try tries to dis­miss its op­po­nents as rad­i­cal gree­nies, but this doesn’t work be­cause the move­ment against coal and gas is far more di­verse than that and is grounded in the heart of the com­mu­ni­ties that are im­pacted.

“It in­cludes farm­ers, busi­ness peo­ple, sci­en­tists and ev­ery­day folk who have been rad­i­calised by the ar­ro­gance of an in­dus­try that is threat­en­ing their fu­ture.”

Queens­land Re­source Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Mac­far­lane said the only suc­cess the ac­tivists had was in slow­ing ev­ery­thing down.

“If their goal was to slow things down and de­stroy the econ­omy then they have prob­a­bly had some suc­cess, but only from a de­struc­tive point of view,’’ he said.

“It cer­tainly has had an im­pact but not the one they seek. It’s just eco­nomic van­dal­ism.”


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