Now it’s up to us

Court decision leaves it to the people to save endangered forest

Phil Spark is one of those old school ecologists who is actually in love with nature. Even the most aesthetically challenged critters have a special place in Phil’s heart.

For four years, Phil has been counting bats, collecting koala scats and tip toeing gently across every corner of Leard State Forest in an effort to assess just how many precious plants and animals call it home.

A local inhabitant of Leard State Forest rests unaware of the danger to his home and habitat. © Abram Powell/Greenpeace
A local inhabitant of Leard State Forest rests unaware of the danger to his home and habitat. © Abram Powell/Greenpeace

It was this connection to the forest that moved Phil and the Northern Inland Council for the Environment (NICE) to mount a legal challenge against a proposal that would see 1,500 hectares of it destroyed forever.

Today is not a good day for Phil or for his furry friends.

The Federal Court has decided in favour of Whitehaven Coal and its plans to go ahead with the largest coal mine currently under construction in Australia. Smack bang in the heart of Leard State Forest.

Standing outside the court room, Phil Spark said: “This disappointing decision today will trigger even greater community opposition to the Maules Creek coal mine, and we expect to see more and more people visiting the forest to take direct action against such an environmentally disastrous mining project.

“The Maules Creek coal mine is a risky, reckless and damaging investment that will now face determined and growing opposition from concerned citizens across the country.”

The court decision comes after a week of peaceful protest at Maules Creek. Over 100 people – including local farmers, traditional owners, and concerned citizens from all corners of the country – gathered at the site and successfully blocked construction work and halted forest clearing for three days.

If you’d like to join Phil and get involved in the campaign to save the forest and stop the mine, email [email protected]

More information and acknowledgements

Photos Courtesy of:
© Abram Powell/Greenpeace
© Meret Macdonald

  • Jonathan Gottlieb

    I call the people standing up and trying to block the coal mine heros. The country of Austrialia is a country that I have turned on since they elected Tony Abbot to Prime Minister. Time to do away will all fossil fuels and fossil fuel explorations and only develop clean renewable energy and keep as much natural forests and other areas preserved without any clear cutting and distruption. Another sad story in the name of greed.

  • Joy

    Well said Jonathan,
    I hope people wake up before we become the next environmental refugees when the mining companies used all our water and our land and beautifully Australia becomes a big mining desert

    • Hetinjo

      Who mostly profits from coal mining ?

      Does mining create employment ? how much ?

      Do we manufacture the machines here ? or do we
      import them, spending most of the “earnings” ?

      To buy “our” coal, our customers need dollars.
      whence do they get them ? from our imports of foods (that rob our farmers of
      their income, somewtimes to the extent that crops have to be

      To sell our coal, we import lots and lots of goods
      that should be grown or manufactured in A?stralia in order to keep our people
      employed; then we call unemployed people “dole bludgers”, and they get either
      depressed or angry and destructive.

      When our arable land is destroyed, can we eat coal and offer it to overseas hungry people ?

      Jonathon is brainy and
      brave. The Minerals Council people are brainy, sure, but use their brains to
      worship the golden calf.