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.

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