Thousands demand Turnbull stop wrecking our Reef with public cash handouts

Concerned communities will today join GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Avaaz at a snap rally protesting

Concerned communities will today join GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Avaaz at a snap rally protesting Prime Minister Turnbull’s broken promise to the Australian people that there would be no public money for Adani’s Carmichael mine.

The groups are delivering hundreds of thousands of signatures in petitions to the Prime Minister expressing outrage at the use of taxpayers money to help build one of the world’s largest coal mines and send hundreds more coal ships through the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Sandra Williams, business owner in the Whitsundays, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef said coastal communities rely on a healthy Reef for a healthy economy and the Adani mine would put it all at risk.

“Locals, business owners and tourism operators are appalled at this government’s decision to hand Adani one billion hard-earned taxpayer dollars, less than six months after they went to the electorate with a policy of no public money for Adani.

“This deceitful backflip is despicable and people are rightly outraged. Our jobs are on the line. Mining and burning coal causes dangerous global warming which is killing our Reef.

“If the Reef dies, so does our business. That’s what this handout gets us.

“At a time when our Reef is stressed and suffering like never before, our government should be doing and spending more to protect our greatest natural asset. Not giving special treatment to multinational billionaires to wreck it,” said Williams.

NSWNMA nurse and midwife Jacqueline Myers said the government’s reckless decision would drive more frequent and intense heatwaves, killing people.

“This mine comes riddled with disease. Burning coal gives us more heatwaves. Heatwaves which kill more Australians than any other form of extreme weather.

“That’s before we even think about the air pollution caused by coal-burning power, particularly in countries like India. Already, 100,000 people die every year from air pollution in India,” said Myers.

“There’s no need to waste billions of dollar of taxpayers’ money each year propping up polluting fossil fuel technology,” says Alex Georgiou, Co-founder of ShineHub, a solar energy brokerage based in Sydney.

“Instead, we should be investing in renewable energy projects that will provide jobs, as well as secure an affordable clean energy future for us all.”

Reef campaigners (GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Avaaz) say the handout is another example of the Federal Government bending over backwards for vested coal interests at the expense of everyday people.

“The government should expect the public to be outraged over this. The overwhelming majority of Australians don’t want their money being used to bankroll a monstrous Reef-killing coal project that threatens the Great Barrier Reef, existing jobs and our health - and sends profits offshore.

“This is a deeply unpopular move – poll after poll shows that voters know there are better things to do with public money than waste it on a declining industry.

“Funding from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund should be used for renewable energy projects that can provide tens of thousands of jobs without trashing our climate, our Great Barrier Reef and the health of our communities.

“It has been shown that Adani has destroyed environments in India, and engaged in corrupt practices. We believe the facts show that Adani can’t be trusted with our Reef, it can’t be trusted with our water, and its rail project certainly can’t be trusted with one billion dollars of public money.”