Abbot Point, 22nd June 2015: In a powerful escalation of the global campaign against Indian Mining Adani’s proposed Abbot Point and Galilee Basin coal projects, over 120 people have today risked arrest in a peaceful community action at the Abbot Point port.
Led by Aunty Carol Prior, a Juru elder and traditional custodian of the Abbot Point area and other local leaders, the community gathered at the entrance of Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal. After being welcomed by Aunty Carol Prior and invited to participate in a cultural smoking ceremony, each of the community members signed a pledge of commitment to take action to protect the Great Barrier Reef and global climate by preventing the expansions of Abbot Point coal port and Adani’s Charmicheal mine from going ahead.
The protest foreshadows a sustained campaign of civil disobedience against construction of the controversial project which has already been ranked as having the third highest reputation risk of any project on the planet.
“We are standing together, united as one, to protect mother earth – our environment – which is my culture, my heritage, and my aboriginality”, said Aunty Carol Prior.
The delegation of Traditional Custodians and community leaders, armed with the groups pledges drove down the private road as far as they could towards Abbot Point Coal Terminal before coming to a road block. At this point they flatly refused access and the right to speak to an Adani representative.
“We are parents, and grandparents, tourism operators and farmers, traditional owners and conservationists from all parts of Australia said Sandra Williams, Airlie Beach resident. “The community is saying no to this project. Not here, not now, not ever,” said Williams. “I’ve worked in the Whitsunday tourism industry for twenty years. A vibrant tourism industry depends on a vibrant Reef. The Reef is suffering irreparable damage created by coastal industrialisation, including ports, and by climate change from increasing coal use.’
“We’re here today standing up for the future of the Great Barrier Reef, and a safe climate future for our grandchildren. We want to see investment in a positive future for our region, in job-rich renewables and a healthy and sustainable tourism industry.”
Eleven international banks have refused to fund the project whilst over three million people around the world have opposed it including a petition of 670,000 people delivered to the US Export Import Bank in Washington DC last week. Today’s action comes just days after Pope Francis delivered his groundbreaking encyclical on the environment, calling for an urgent shift away from fossil fuels.
The Queensland government is currently preparing to submit the controversial dredging project to the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt for approval.