Community blockade Newcastle harbour in coal protest

Rising Tide Press Release 12/3/2011:Today, hundreds of Hunter community members are peacefully blockading Newcastle Harbour, protesting the expansion of Australia's largest contribution to climate change - coal exports.

Rising Tide spokesperson Carly Phillips is concerned about the many damaging impacts of the coal industry. “The giant coal corporations are planning to double coal exports, beginning with the construction of a fourth export terminal in Newcastle. They want to dig up and ship out more coal, without regard for the devastating environmental, social and health impacts all along the coal chain.”

“There is far too much at stake for the coal industry to keep expanding,” Ms Phillips said. "This blockade comes at a time when Australians are feeling the severe weather impacts of climate change, and increasing numbers of people in the Hunter are experiencing health impacts from coal. We are seeing productive farmland and rivers being lost to coal mining at an alarming rate."

"The profits from coal go to multinational corporations, but the devastation stays here in the Hunter.” “The people paddling here in Newcastle Harbour today can imagine a future beyond coal, where governments put a safe climate, community health and clean water first.”

Participants are calling for:
*An immediate ban on the expansion of the coal industry in Australia.
*The many billions of taxpayer dollars spent on subsidies to fossil fuel industries each year to be redirected into clean renewable energy solutions.
* swift phase out of coal, replacing all coal industry jobs with jobs in renewable energy and other sustainable industries.