Dead coral in Canberra

Blue Mountains representatives of the “Stop Adani” activist group met last week with the Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, to deliver a clear message to Canberra that the Great Barrier Reef is under dire threat and this is not the time for massive new coal mines.

The Federal Treasurer brought a lump of coal in to parliament earlier this year, proclaiming that the Coalition has “no fear of coal”.

In response, local climate activists have given Ms Templeman a piece of dead coral to take back to Canberra.

After two years of mass coral bleaching, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority recently declared that 50 per cent of the coral in the reef is dead.

Meanwhile the federal government had made plans to support the development of the massive new Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland with $1billion of assistance.

Susan Templeman accepts a piece of dead coral from Paddy Connor of Stop Adani Blue Mountains.

Susan Templeman accepts a piece of dead coral from Paddy Connor of Stop Adani Blue Mountains.

“As a nation, we now have to choose,” said Paddy Connor, of the group Stop Adani Blue Mountains. “Do we want a Great Barrier Reef or a great big coal mine?”

Representatives of the Stop Adani group also delivered a large bundle of postcards featuring children’s pictures of tropical fish, with messages written by mountains residents at recent events, including a colourful protest outside the Katoomba branch of the Commonwealth Bank, which has been targeted for providing funds to the Adani company.

In a frank exchange, Ms Templeman declared that the massive proposed Adani mine should get no financial support from the government.

“Our focus as a nation should be on managing the transition to sustainable renewable energy sources. This is the area that needs clear government leadership so that workers are not left vulnerable, power prices come down, and supply is stable,” Ms Templeman said.

The anti-coal mine group also questioned the Federal MP on the fire-related impact of climate change in the Blue Mountains.

“The scientific analysis is clear,” replied Ms Templeman, whose house was destroyed in the devastating bushfires of 2013, “climate change causes more frequent extreme weather events, and that increases the risk of serious bushfires/”

Zoe Smith, environmental campaigner and Blue Mountains small business operator, pointed out the economic imbalance of the Adani mine project.

“Small businesses employ most of the 69,000 tourist jobs in the reef,” she said. “It disgusts me that this Government is ready risk those jobs, while also handing over $1 billion to a foreign multinational mining company.”

Stop Adani Blue Mountains declared their intention to have a strong presence at Katoomba’s upcoming Winter Magic Festival. Ms Templeman agreed that the piece of bleached coral would take an important place in her Canberra office.