The fight to stop the Adani coal mine
The Galilee Basin, in the Western Queensland region of Australia, has a total area of 247,000 km squared. It encompasses the Great Dividing Range, headwaters of major waterways including: the Cooper Creek and the Diamantina, Belyando, Cape, Thomson, Barcoo, Flinders, Bulloo, and Warrego rivers. It is also part of larger lakes, like the Lake Buchanan and the Galilee. They are home to many different species of plants and animals, and some which are listed as threatened.
The Galilee native vegetation has an array of eucalyptus woodlands, there are many fields for cattle and sheep grazing.
It’s easy to see that the Galilee Basin and its surrounding areas are precious and vital for the flourishing eco system of the land.
HOWEVER, it turns out that this naturally resourceful and flourishing land is also home to one of the largest untouched coal reserves in the world.
Cue the villain of the story. A man by the name of Gautam Adani, an Indian billionaire who has businesses in coal trading, and coal mining; and who plans to build one of the biggest coal mines in the world, right here on the Galilee.
A little background on him: he has been investigated for corruption and tax evasion in India. He has also been investigated for environmental crimes at Adani’s Munda port in India, where the government created a special committee purely to investigate the extensive complaints it received about environmental breaches. It was later found that the company had built an airstrip and aerodrome with no previous approval.
He sounds exactly like the kind of person you would want the government doing business deals with, right?
Not really, but the Government are offering Adani’s company $1 Billion-dollar tax funded loan to build a transport system in the Galilee to move coal across the state.
As it stands the traditional owners of the land, the Wangan and Jagalingou are in opposition to the mine, and as the native title states it cannot be created without their consent. The government is now trying to weaken the native title laws, to allow the creation of the mine. Safe to say they will do whatever it takes to get this mine built.
A statement on the Wangan and Jagalingou people’s website reads:
“The scale of this mine would have devastating impacts on our native title, ancestral lands and waters, our totemic plants and animals, and our environmental and cultural heritage. It would pollute and drain billions of litres of groundwater, and obliterate important springs systems. It would potentially wipe out threatened and endangered species. It would literally leave a huge black hole, monumental in proportions, where there were once our homelands. These effects are irreversible. Our land will be “disappeared”. ”
The devastation this mine would create is incomprehensible. Environmental experts assert that the creation of this mine will be catastrophic to the nearby Great Barrier Reef, and the environment at large. Recently the Great Barrier Reef had a second term of bleaching; a detrimental cause of the waters warming. The reef is an essential part of the eco system, and would cause devastation if it were to be further destroyed.
If built, it would create 1.3 times Australia’s carbon emmisons each year. At a time when emmissions need to be going down.
And now, the backlash and community support to stop this.
Amongst the plethora of national organisations, there are many local groups creating political action, including the western Sydney arm of The ‘Australian Youth Climate Coalition’. They have campaigned for months, targeting investors of the Adani coal mine; the big four banks.
AYCC are targeting the big banks to persuade them not to invest in the mine, and have succeeded; (NAB, ANZ, Commonwealth bank and recently Westpac have pulled funding).
The AYCC Western Sydney regional coordinator, Georgia Wilson- Williams, explained how local volunteers around Parramatta and Western Sydney have, for two months gone to various Westpac branches and created relational connections with Westpac staff to provide them with meaningful education.
One approach which they employed was to use their branding against them, the Western Sydney team and teams all over Sydney placed signs that read: ‘Don’t bank on coal’, ‘Stop Adani’ among others, that were posted near Westpac branches, not only in Parramatta, but Australia wide.
Local groups also protested outside the Westpac 200 year anniversary ball. These moves proved effective as Westpac eventually pulled funding to the coal mine.
So now that all the facts have been laid out, what will you do?
Spokesperson for the #StopAdani campaign, from 360.org (a not for profit climate organisation), Cambell Klose said, “Local communities and individuals can set up their own group, lobby local MP’s to show community opposition; this often creates more traction as it is not from traditional activists.”
“It has to be a community movement in electorates that show these members of parliament that this mine is unpalatable. We have seen Labour have pulled support, so eventually stigmatising the issue to this capacity will have an impact on the government. This is a chance for people to involve themselves in creating a clean energy future for Australia.”
The traditional owners of this land are the Wangan and Jagalingou people, their custodianship spans tens of thousands of years and beyond to the dream time. This land is sacred to them, and will leave them further displaced if this mine were to go ahead.
They are currently running their own campaign to stop this; another way to pledge support would be to donate to the Wangan and Jagalingou campaign. (The below link)
Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners are fighting to defend our lands from Adani - a multi-billion dollar company …wanganjagalingou.com.au
The Abbot Point mine, which is close to the Reef in Queensland, has seen destruction and dredging to the surrounding areas.
The extent to which individuals and groups all over Australia have fought this mine, is powerful and unstoppable.
As this issue is for and about everyone, we all have the power to stop this reef and climate wrecker from hitting the ground. We need to advocate for alternatives like larger investments in the renewable sector.
We need to save one of the planets most precious and beautiful creations.
Local and community groups you can join or support:
We're building a movement of young people leading solutions to the climate crisis.www.aycc.org.au
We're working with online advertising experts to target investors, bankers, business partners, and politicians both…www.getup.org.au