By Jenni Huber, StopAdani Albury-Wodonga
I’ve had my finger on the environmental pulse for many decades and have never come across an issue that’s angered people as much as the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine. Hackles were raised by the Franklin Dam proposal, but Queensland’s Adani mega-mine is in another league. It’s even catapulted me out of my comfort zone, beyond my focus on living lightly and into the sphere of political activism.
But are my personal experiences of a populace angry about Adani an accurate snapshot of our local community? Does the average Border resident really care, or even know, about this mega-mine? These were the questions thirteen of us had in mind as we armed ourselves with clipboards and randomly surveyed townsfolk in Dean Street, High Street and central Beechworth.
Over nine days in June-July we surveyed 500 people. More than half (58%) had heard of the mine. Of these, 87% opposed the proposed $1 billion loan of public money for the mine, 80% opposed the project outright and 80% wanted their federal MP to take a stance against the mine. So even in our corner of Australia, opposition to the mega-mine was high. People knew that burning this vast quantity of coal would turbo-charge global warming, devastate the Reef and squander groundwater. They realised the jobs argument was a furphy and don’t want their money propping up a dying industry. A phenomenal 94% of respondents wanted to make the switch away from polluting coal towards renewable energy.
Armed with these powerful results we booked meetings with Cathy McGowan and Sussan Ley. The week after our meeting at Cathy’s office, Parliament debated the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2017 and Cathy supported an amendment stating ‘global warming is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef and calls on the government to immediately take all available steps to stop the Adani Carmichael coal mine’. We were elated. Cathy had listened to us and the many constituents who had contacted her about this appalling project.
But our words to Sussan Ley fell on deaf ears as she regurgitated the party line. Despite all the opposition, including Australia’s four biggest banks ruling out a loan to Adani, she denied any problems associated with this mine. When will our irresponsible government come to their senses?
For more information visit: facebook.com/StopAdaniAlburyWodonga/