Hi I’m Kerrie, one of the activists that stopped the Kooragang coal loader in February this year.

I grew up in Newcastle and believe that we need to “Quit Coal” and we need to do it now! There is no time to waste as we only have a very small window of opportunity to stop dangerous climate change, which will have devastating consequences. I cannot believe that with all the climate science we have access to and the warnings from the IPCC and the Stern report, that the NSW Government continues to increase coal exports, putting our lives and our planet in jeopardy from the impacts of climate change.

I felt compelled to act and bring public awareness to the issue of climate change and the part that the coal mining industry in Newcastle has in the climate change issue. We took non-violent direct action by stopping the conveyor belts on the Kooragang coal loader, which is NSW’s biggest coal exporting terminal, and attaching ourselves to the belts so that no coal could be shifted whilst we were locked on. The conveyor belts move 7,000 tonnes of coal an hour so in the two hours that we were there, we stopped a lot of coal from being loaded – the amount would equal about 36,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions! An interesting fact that I found out recently is that one tonne of CO2 would fill a 3 bedroom house so you can imagine how much the 36,000 tonnes would be.

The NSW government plans to increase the output of Kooragang coal loader from 64 million tonnes of coal a year to 120 million tonnes – a nearly 100% increase. This is purely and simply disaster for our climate.

During the action, we wore “Stop Anvil Hill” messages to highlight the fact that this Hunter Valley coal mine was awaiting planning approval and that Morris Iemma was holding off from announcing that decision until after the State Election in March. The Premier went on to approve the Anvil Hill mine even though there are huge environmental consequences and despite locals opposition to the mine from the Hunter wine and horse breeding industries.

Both state and federal governments are continuiung to approve new coal mines and coal-fired power stations even though they are fully aware of the dangerous effects these projects will have. There should be a moratorium on new coal, “Just Transitions” for coal workers and a clean energy future for the Hunter Valley. This is possible and we can make our voice heard if we all stand together on this issue. We need to pressure our politicians to ratify Kyoto, cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% of 1990 levels by 2020 and support clean renewable energy.

Kerrie Fraser