Issues Magazine

Greenpeace Confronts Mining Lobby



Tuesday March 6, 2012, Sydney:
In response to articles in today’s Australian Financial Review and The Australian, Greenpeace is welcoming a public debate on the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the global climate from the excesses of the mining industry.

“It is no secret that we’re trying to raise funds in a David vs. Goliath fight against the massive PR budgets of the mining industry,” said Greenpeace Senior Campaigner John Hepburn. “The reckless and massive planned expansion of the coal industry will have a devastating impact on the Great Barrier Reef, on local communities and on the global climate.

“Within the next four weeks, the Australian Government will decide whether to approve the world’s largest coal port, located in the World Heritage Area at Abbot Point in Queensland,” said Hepburn. “There are proposals in place which would drive a six-fold increase in coal port capacity in the World Heritage Area. The coal industry is also taking over Australia’s prime farm land, polluting vital groundwater and driving climate change. These are the kind of excesses which we absolutely need to challenge.

“While the mining industry runs fear campaigns about the economy, they conveniently gloss over the threat to the 60,000 tourism jobs reliant on the Barrier Reef,” said Hepburn.

“We’d love to have a campaign fund to match the PR campaigns of the coal industry,” said Hepburn. “In the last two years, for example, the Minerals Council of Australia alone spent over $21 million on advertising and broadcasting.

“The massive financial and political clout of the mining lobby allows them to trample on any kind of opposition, particularly local communities and farmers,” said Hepburn. “We’re trying to raise funds to support those communities to defend themselves against the mining giants.”

Last week Greenpeace released a new report highlighting the impact of the mining on the Great Barrier Reef ahead of the UNESCO investigation into the devastating impact of planned industrial development on the Reef.

“The health of the Great Barrier Reef is a barometer for Australia. If we can’t protect our greatest natural treasure then we have to question what hope we have for the future of our society,” said Hepburn.

Greenpeace is calling on the Federal Government to put a halt to major coal port developments while a comprehensive strategic assessment is being conducted into the impacts of development on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

Source: Greenpeace