There is an iconic battle going on right now in a place called Maules Creek. Maules Creek is increasingly becoming known for the controversial Maules Creek open cut coal mine development in the Leard State Forest, but it is also becoming known as a hot bed of environmental activism.
Hundreds of people have now visited the Leard State Forest and over 250 have been arrested. People are converging from miles away to train in non violent direct action and blockade to protect the forest and the surrounding communities whose livelihoods, lifestyle and environment will be affected by the Maules Creek coal mine.
The Wilderness Society continues to support peaceful protesting as we have since the beginning of our work. We stand with the Gomeroi people, the Maules Creek Community Council, Lock the Gate, Greenpeace, 350.org, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and others who are working together to stop the Maules Creek coal mine.
The Leard State Forest sits at the heart of the Liverpool Plains in North Western New South Wales. This agricultural plateau is home to generations of farming communities and a food belt for the city. Farmers in this region produce the crops that bring beer, muesli, sunflower oil, corn flakes and jeans to you every year, not to mention a $110 million beef production industry.
The Leard is unique. It represents one of the last forested areas of the almost entirely cleared Liverpool plains. It contains old growth quality whitebox gum woodland, a critically endangered ecological community. This 8,000ha habitat area is about three times the size of Sydney’s CDB and houses nearly 400 native species of flora and fauna, 34 of which are threatened with extinction including our iconic koala, feathertail glider, barking owl, regent honeyeater and swift parrot.
The Leard State Forest is irreplaceable. Coal, on the other hand is, and must be replaced. Despite knowing the science and that alternatives to fossil fuels are available the four big banks (ANZ, Westpac, NAB and Commonwealth) are making poor investments against the communities wishes. Australia’s Climate Council says 80% of the world’s fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.
If this mine proceeds it will pave the way for a new wave of massive open-cut coal mines in the region and build the momentum for increased rail capacity from the area to be transported to the Newcastle Coal Export Port. The Maules Creek coal mine will not only destroy the last remnant of critically endangered woodland and the homes of the animals that live there forever, it will also dump 18,000 tonnes of coal dust onto communities and emit 30 tonnes of CO2 per year - the equivalent to New Zealand’s entire energy sector. If that’s not enough reason to keep the coal in the ground, here’s another one: by making the Maules Creek mine an unappealing and socially unacceptable investment, we will build a precedent that fossil fuels should stay in the ground.
Join the movement to oppose the extraction of fossil fuels as an energy source and help protect this special place that is the Leard State Forest and the communities who call it home: