This update in from Blair Palese, CEO of Australia – live from the Maules Creek blockade. To stay up-to-date, click like on the Australia Facebook page, and follow on Twitter.


I’m writing this blog from the “camp office” at the Maules Creek blockade, currently the front-line of the battle against new coal developments in Australia. In the early hours of this morning, a 62-year old geophysicist from Canberra locked himself to a drill rig, preventing Whitehaven from planting explosives and leveling a hill at the Leard State Forest. Under the cover of dark he hiked five km into the forest and attached himself to the rig armed with only some fruit and a muesli bar.

Glen Torr travelled 10 hours from Canberra to join the fight against the Whitehaven open-cut coal mine because of his concerns regarding the climate change impacts of Australia’s dangerous addiction to coal.

“My background means I understand the impacts of climate change. I am worried that my grand niece and nephews will suffer the full effects because of our current short-sightedness,” said Glen before he locked on.

“This unique habitat needs to be treasured. When you see the sulphur-crested cockatoos, the beauty of the landscape, you wonder how Whitehaven could want to turn this irreplaceable habitat into a barren wasteland.”

Glen lock on meme

Last week, a Uniting Church minister and two other members of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change were arrested for similar actions.

None of these individuals consider themselves activists. All have been moved to act by their concerns over the effects of breaking our carbon budget and the insanity of building new coal mines despite the warnings of scientists all over the world that 80% of our fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to prevent runaway climate change.

Although it may not seem like much, small actions such as setting up a road block and turning away vehicles send a huge message to the investment community.  Every minute that construction is delayed the project becomes a little less viable. Investors and fossil fuel companies are well aware that the coal industry has a limited lifespan because we must take action on climate change, which is why all eyes are currently on this coal mine at Maules Creek.

Never before has there been such a concerted alliance opposing a coal project in Australia and such a ground swell of support from different sectors of the community. Events at Maules Creek are setting an important precedent, showing that fossil fuel companies must be prepared to face increasing opposition, delays and reputational damage.

Companies like Aurizon and others involved in the proposed Galilee Basin mega-mine complex are keenly watching the events unfurling at Maules Creek, and each week of delay makes them more likely to follow Lend-Lease and Anglo-American in making a swift exit from that project.

This is why the fight at Maules Creek is about more than just stopping one coal mine – it’s about ordinary Australians showing it is no longer acceptable for companies to profit at the expense of our planet.

– Blair Palese, CEO, Australia

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