Australia’s largest coal mine currently under construction in the Leard State Forest near Maules Creek has been the site of many protests recently. These protests are predicated mainly on estimates by ecologists that up to 50% of forest which is known for the Lush Box Gum Tree will be destroyed.
By Matt Myers, Socialist Party
The forest is also home to a large number of aboriginal sites and indigenous artefacts. On April 1, more than 80 protesters were arrested for stopping construction at the mine site through an occupation. These actions, supported overwhelmingly by the community, demonstrate the resolve of protesters.
Current Commonwealth environmental policy requires offsets (e.g. planting new trees) for coal mines. Last November, Lock the Gate Alliance alleged that the mine operator Whitehaven provided misleading and falsified information to support their offset application. Unfortunately the government have failed to act.
Far from destroying forests and significant sites for the oil, coal and gas based energy industry we need to transition to renewable energy technologies. On the basis of public investment and community control we could plan to meet our energy requirements while protecting the environment and creating sustainable jobs.