A coalition of environment, unions and faith groups protested outside the Labor Party’s national conference in Adelaide on Sunday, calling for the party to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry,
Protesters demanded a stop to oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, preventing Adani and other coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin and an end to fracking and gas exploration, in the Northern Territory, Western Australia’s stunning Kimberley and the Pilliga Forest in NSW.
The Wilderness Society’s South Australia director, Peter Owen, said it was, ‘insane Australia is opening up new oil, gas and coal frontiers when we know we need to stop burning fossil fuels’.
Height of irresponsibility
‘Expanding the fossil fuel industry is the height of irresponsibility and not an option if we are to have any chance of providing our children with a liveable climate
‘It’s also concerning that many of these fossil fuel frontiers are in pristine areas such as the Great Australian Bight, Western Australia’s stunning Kimberley and NSW’s biggest inland forest, the Pilliga. The Great Australian Bight whale nursery is a completely inappropriate place for risky deep-sea oil drilling, especially as we hurtle towards catastrophic climate change.’
‘We now know we must act immediately to avoid locking in catastrophic climate change. Allowing the fossil fuel industry to expand would negate Labor’s good work in promoting renewable energy. It’s time for the Labor Party to show national leadership and commit to stopping the expansion of the fossil fuel industry when it sets its election platform at this national conference.’
Philippa Rowland, president of Multifaith SA, said, ‘people of faith in Australia feel the urgent need for an ethical response to threats posed to vulnerable communities from escalating climate impacts across our region – all climate policies must include a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.’
Youth fired up
Australian Youth Climate Coalition Campaigns director, Kelly Albion, said, ‘young people are fired up like never before about stopping the dangerous Adani mine – we’re literally fighting for our lives’.
‘There are skilled-up activists all across the country who are determined to make Adani an election issue, even when Labor are determined to not talk about it.
‘We’ll be at every Labor event, every doorstop, every press conference asking them which side of history they want to stand on – the side of a safe climate future, or the side of a coal mining billionaire?’
Exporting climate change
The Maritime Union of Australia’s WA Branch assistant secretary, Danny Cain, said it was ‘time for Labor to recognise the need to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and a sustainable energy system. Our members are at the forefront of this change. The employment shift must involve a just transition for workers in fossil fuel industries to real union jobs in new, safe renewable industries.’
Mr Owen said Australia was ‘the worst-performing country in the world on climate action’, according to the recently released UN Sustainable Development Goals Index, which now includes carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel exports.
‘Australia’s annual exported CO₂ emissions are a colossal 44 tonnes per person, outstripping even Saudi Arabia (35.5 tonnes/person) and 60 times those of the US (710kg/person).
‘We are exporting climate change to the world,’ he said.
Become a supporter of The Echo
A note from the editorial team
“The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.
The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.
We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.
Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”