Thousands of Australians protest against Adani mine

 sbs.com.au  12/8/2018 1:32:45 AM 

Thousands of Australians have marched in streets in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns, calling or politicians to stop the Adani coal mining project in Queensland.

Last Thursday, Indian mining giant Adani announced it would begin construction on its Queensland mine in the new year after downsizing the project, and deciding to self-fund it. 

Fourteen year-old Harriet spoke before a crowd of Melbourne protesters, saying that students won't be giving up their right to protest for action on climate change.

"They continue to let me down," she said of Australia's politicians.

"And I am not going to continue blindly trusting our government any longer. I refuse to continue following their rules. Because their rules aren't keeping us safe."

In Brisbane, 17-year-old Thomas Cullen addressed hundreds of protesters, saying Australian students are not satisfied with the government's handling of climate change policy.

"No longer will we sit back and be lectured to by people who are outdated and out of touch," he said.

Similar scenes played out in Sydney where protesters chanted "Stop Adani". 

Initially, the Adani project was valued at $16.5 billion, which would have made it the largest such mine in Australia. 

Now, the project will have a reduced output of 10 to 15 million tonnes a year, compared to the initial plan for 60 million tonnes. 

The project is subject to legal challenges and has yet to finalise environmental management plans required by the Queensland and federal governments. 

Last week, student protesters attracted criticism from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said they should be in school and not participating in activism.

Across the nation, 15,000 students skipped school to take part in the action.

"We don't support the idea of kids not going to school to participate in things that can be dealt with outside of school," he said.

"We don't support our schools being turned into parliaments. What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools."

New ReachTel polling commissioned by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) found that 62.7 per cent of those surveyed supported the right of students to protest on climate change. The number rose to 86.4 per cent among Labor voters. 

The majority of the 2345 surveyed - 58.1 per cent - also wanted the Labor Party to oppose Adani's coal mine.

National Director of the AYCC, Gemma Borgo-Caratti, said the results showed there is widespread public support for students' right to protest, despite criticism from the Prime Minister. 

“This new poll shows Australians support the students’ actions and that the Prime Minister’s attacks on the kids are mean-spirited and out-of-step with public opinion," she said.

“The poll also puts Bill Shorten on notice that a clear majority of Australians, and the vast majority of Labor voters want him to act to stop the Adani mine. Labor voters want strong leadership on climate change, not a would-be Prime Minister who says the Adani coal mine would make no difference to carbon emissions.”

Earlier this week a group of student protesters staged a 'sit in' in the lobby of Parliament House in Canberra, earning them a three-month ban from the building.   

Australia has promised to reduce total emissions to 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 under its Paris target.

However, recent reports from the UN, IMF and the Global Carbon Project has found that the country is not on track to meet the target.

« Go back