Barricade at NSW ALP Headquarters

Climate protest against Newcastle coal expansion

Climate change activists have set up a barricade at the headquarters of the NSW ALP, demanding the Iemma Government make an announcement on the expansion of Newcastle coal exports before the March 24th election.

A group of about 15 people are crowding the reception of the ALPheadquarters at Sussex Street, and have set up a barricade of ply wood and44 gallon drums in the building. One of the people, Annika Dean, from Newcastle, is chained to a piece of plywood in the barricade. The people say that they are not leaving the ALP headquarters until the Iemma Governmentmakes an announcement on the proposed new Coal Export Terminal at Newcastle.

Steve Phillips, spokesperson for Rising Tide Newcastle – the group that rganised the protest – said: "The proposed new Coal Export Terminal at Newcastle would produce more greenhouse pollution than every single source within our state's borders. 66 million tonnes of coal per year would be exported, the equivalent of doubling NSW greenhouse pollution from all sources. Every power station, every vehicle, every steel mill and cement factory, every landclearing operation, the lot. They would all be eclipsed by the greenhouse pollution from just one project in Newcastle, that is now pending a decision from the Iemma Government."

"The Coal Terminal proposal has been subject to a public submission period, and over 800 people wrote to the NSW Government demanding that it be rejected due to the massive impact the project would have on the global climate. The facts are simple: the terminal would produce over 150 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution per annum, which would fuel global climate
change and endanger the persistence of life on earth. With this is mind, there is no reason for the NSW Government to delay its decision on this issue any further."

There is a range of massive new coal mine proposals in NSW that are designed to provide coal to the new terminal. Projects such as Anvil Hill, Moolarben, and the various coal mine proposals in the Gunnedah Basin are all inextricably linked to the proposed new Coal Terminal at Newcastle. All of these projects are now pending a decision from the NSW Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor.

"Why is the Iemma Government is keeping its climate change policy a secret until after the election? The people of NSW need to know where this government stands on climate change, before we go to polls. Is Morris Iemma for doubling coal exports from Newcastle, and doubling our state's contribution to climate change? Or is he for tackling climate change and standing up for a sustainable future for our state? He has to choose one or the other, and he has to choose now."

Notes for editors:

- The proposed new Coal Export Terminal (CET) at Newcastle Harbour is a project of the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), a consortium of six coal companies, lead by BHP Billiton. Each member of the consortium has at least one major coal mining proposal in NSW.

- The CET would have a capacity of 66 million tonnes of coal per annum. Using a coal to carbon dioxide coefficient of approximately 2.4(Australian Greenhouse Office), that much coal would produce approximately 158 million tonnes per annum of equivalent carbon dioxide (Mtpa CO2-e) when combusted.
- NSW greenhouse emissions from all sources are currently around 150 Mtpa CO2-e

Rising Tide Newcastle is a grassroots group campaigning against the causes of human-induced climate change. We live in the largest coal port (by export volume) in the world. The coal companies want to double it.