Faith group members arrested in anti-Adani mine protest

Group vows to continue fight against proposed mine-rail-port project


By Chris Shearer

November 22 2017Several members of a multi-faith environmental group have been arrested in Queensland while protesting at the site of the proposed Adani mine railway.

President Thea Omerod and Melbourne Uniting Church Minister Alex Sangster were among the five Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) protestors arrested for blocking construction at the site on Tuesday 21 November.

Revd Sangster said that the group were charged with failing to follow directions and blocking a carriageway and would face court in December, but told TMA that their arrest would not discourage ARRCC members from further action.

“We were there to block access to the workers so that the work on the railway won’t continue and so that they’re one step further away from being able to dig an enormous travesty into the earth,” she said.

The proposed mine-rail-port development would link a new coalmine in the Galilee basin by rail to an expanded port at Abbott Point, but the project has been dogged by protests against the environmental impacts the project and Adani’s troubles securing funding.

The Federal Government has been considering offering the beleaguered company a $900m loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to help it begin the project.

ARRCC released an open letter on Monday 20 November calling on the Queensland and Federal Governments to abandon support for the project, signed by a number of faith leaders including Anglicans the Revd Peter Moore, the Revd Bruce Boase, Dr Rose Elu and Dean of Brisbane’s St John’s Cathedral Dr Peter Catt.

“As leaders in our faith communities, we feel compelled to challenge Queensland’s proposal to assist and partner with the Adani group to develop the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin because of the effect the resulting carbon emissions will have on our climate, our economy, the world’s poor and the environment,” the letter reads.

“With global warming being a threat to the viability of our agricultural and tourism industries, our marine life, and the wildlife of this beautiful state, it seems unconscionable that any current or future Queensland government would make a development decision that puts all this at risk.”

The letter also called on both governments to refuse approval for Northern Australia Infrastructure Funds to be used to construct the railway line needed for the mine, and to invest in renewable energy technology.

Adani’s Carmichael mine has become a hot-button issue in this Saturday’s Queensland state election. Several inner-city Brisbane seats held by the Labor Government are at risk from Greens candidates who have campaigned strongly against the project.