The community has gathered at a protest in Brisbane to add their voices to a growing cacophony calling on the Queensland Government to reject the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal Mine (CQC) which threatens the Reef, important fish, turtle and dugong habitats, and which will fuel dangerous climate change.
The colourful rally outside Parliament House follows on from protests held last week in Yeppoon and Mackay. Images and video of the rally are available here. A link to the livestream video of the rally is here.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has until April 28 to decide whether the proposed CQC mine is suitable or not. Ahead of that deadline, AMCS supporters and reef community members want the Queensland Government and Department to hear their opposition to the proposal, loud and clear.
Dr Lissa Schindler, Great Barrier Reef campaign manager at AMCS, who addressed the rally, said: “A coal mine 10 km from the Great Barrier Reef makes no sense for so many reasons. It should be rejected on climate grounds alone, especially in the light of recent science-led reports calling for rapid emissions reductions.
“The government-appointed Independent Expert Scientific Committee have also warned of significant and irreversible damage from mine-affected water from this development to inshore Reef ecosystems including Queensland’s largest fish habitat at Broad Sound, north of Rockhampton. So we would urge politicians to use their heads and just scrap this polluting mine proposal right now.”
Another speaker Lulu Arraiza, lead organiser for School Striker 4 Climate Action in Cairns, said: “The Queensland Government must reject the Clive Palmer-owned coal mine and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
“Growing up in Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef coast, I’ve already seen the impacts of climate change on the Reef. We know mining and burning coal is causing climate change. We know coal is warming the oceans and destroying coral.
“Not only will this mine fuel climate change but it is only 10km from the Great Barrier Reef coast and will directly harm precious Reef ecosystems and other marine habitats. The Queensland Government must stop approving new coal mines and must immediately reject the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal project.”
The Central Queensland Coal mine proposal, previously named the Styx coal project, has not significantly progressed in the almost ten years since it was first proposed. Even the Australian Government’s own Geoscience Australia has dismissed the economic viability of mining this coal basin. Despite this dire assessment of the project’s economic outlook, the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal company is continuing to pursue the project.
In 2020, the Federal Government’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee handed down a damning assessment of the project, saying it threatened significant and irreversible damage to internationally valued ecosystems subjected to mine-affected water amongst other serious impacts.
Clive Palmer’s companies do not have widespread support in central Queensland, and Rockhampton Regional Council recently declined to grant Central Queensland Coal a letter of support for their coal proposal. One councillor declared that the Council were “Reef guardians” in her opposition to the letter.