Australians take direct action to stop a coal company ‘wrecking’ the Great Barrier Reef

A blockade at Adani's Abbot Point coal terminal off the Great Barrier Reef
Tom Anderson

In recent years ecological activists in Australia have united behind a campaign to stop a multinational company from digging one of the world’s largest coal mines which they say will ‘wreck’ the Great Barrier Reef. Indian company Adani has been trying in vain to get the project off the ground for years.

Devastating consequences

The Carmichael mine will further undermine First Nations peoples’ rights to their land. It will also emit “an estimated 4.64 gigatonnes of CO2 over 60 years”. These emissions will have major impacts on the global climate.

The coal extracted from the Carmichael mine in Australia’s Galilee Basin will be transported to the Queensland coast by train before being exported by ship. The increased shipping traffic and associated pollution will further threaten the Great Barrier Reef.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.




‘Stand with us on the frontlines’

In August 2019, Adani began clearing trees at the planned mine site in central Queensland. Campaign group Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC) called for people to come to stand with it “on the frontlines” and take direct action against the company:

A FLAC spokesperson told The Canary:

After issuing the red alert, the Blockade Adani frontlines have had hundreds of people respond and take part in blockading both works on and around the mine site as well as blockading contractors who have agreed to help Adani push forward with this project.

But FLAC says that it still needs support:

There are still many hectares of trees being cut down and there are still contractors entering into business relationships with Adani so we really need to cause disruption to these works so this project can finally be put to bed.

Undermining land rights for First Nations people

On 1 October 2019, over 40 people took part in a blockade disrupting coal exports at Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal. Olivia Williams, who took part in the blockade, accused the government of undermining First Nations people:

It is shameful that our governments are giving Adani extra support to get their destructive mine up and running but at the same time extinguishing native title for Wangan & Jagalingou traditional owners.

Targeting the international web of companies supporting the project

Campaigners opposed to the project have been calling for action against the companies involved in all aspects of the project. This means Adani themselves, the international companies financing the project, and those providing the infrastructure.

The Canary asked what people can do to support the campaign from outside Australia. A spokesperson for FLAC said:

There are definitely some ways that people outside of Australia can help in stopping the Adani mine from going ahead. As there are many contractors who are involved in the Adani project who have international offices and hubs, there are opportunities for people to take part in non-violent direct action against these businesses to show that their business relationships extend further than what happens within their political boundaries.

Putting the pressure on contractors by giving them a call and emailing them is another method that can be used by people who are currently overseas.

A global impact

According to a report by Greenpeace, the opening up of the Galilee Basin to coal mining, where the Carmichael mine is based, is among 14 global mega projects which, if they all go ahead, will trigger a ‘carbon bomb’ that would cause global temperatures to rise by 5-6 degrees.

FLAC explained to The Canary why resisting the Adani project is globally significant:

The Adani project will have significant environmental consequences worldwide if it goes ahead. Our atmosphere has no barriers. The coal that is extracted from the ground in Australia, and is burned overseas, means that all who assist in the coals extraction have contributed to the climate catastrophe we are in through assisting in the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

The opening of the Galilee Basin, where Adani’s mine is set to be built, will also lead to numerous more coal projects being given the tick of approval. This means that the Adani project will cause somewhat of a chain reaction of more coal being extracted and burned, for the entire world to be impacted by.

Featured image via Frontline Action Against Coal

Tom Anderson is part of the Shoal Collective, a cooperative producing writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism. Twitter: @shoalcollective

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
    1. The Australian Government has already sided with Adani, and is actively involved in helping Adani to squash the Titles and Rights of the Indigenous peoples to the land which was ‘granted’ to them by the colonial powers of the time.

      Adani, which is an Indian Corporation, has already been found guilty of gross environmental destruction and pollution around the World, where it operates profit-above-people-and-planet policies, and has literally no qualms about engaging in criminal intimidation of ANYONE who gets in their way, and The Queensland Government has folded on every count.

      This, and stories like this, prove that Nationhood is a sham and scam, that patriotism means absolutely nothing, and love of life and planet are derisory pursuits in the eyes and ears of corporate interests. The Australian Government exists to betray its people to multi-national corporations, indeed it seems that these days, all western political establishments exist solely to serve the corrupt desires of criminally-minded, sociopathic corporations.

      Voting in the Western World is a completely corrupted sham, which just feeds more and more of us into corporate servitude and obedience. It is time to legislate the fuck out of corporations (and corporate-supporting people) to force their accountability and prosecution for their anti-life crimes, and if that is not possible any more due to corruption in the Laws an Judicial systems of the West, it is most certainly time for corporations to learn the same lessons Kings, Queens, and Dictators throughout history have had to learn, and be overthrown by the people.

      Corporations like Adani need to be destroyed, wiped out and off the face of The Earth, in the same way they have already destroyed others and the environment. Adani is nothing short of a global eco-terrorist business with corrupt fingers everywhere they shouldn’t be in healthy democracies.

      Our World needs corporate power to be brought to their knees, whipped and chained by law so that no corporation may ever again hold the power to threaten or impose their corrupted ethos on anyone ever again, and as they have set themselves up as Merchant-Kings-of-Earth (with more power than Governments), they should be subjected to the same ire and hatred that other corrupt entities in our history have been subjected to.

      No corporation should be allowed to be a ‘person’ unless they, like a real person, can be punished as a person, and that means if a corporation misbehaves, everyone who works for it, and is in support of its criminality (from the lowest to the highest) should be punished as one corporate person.

      If a corporation is NOT a ‘person’, then the rules could be relaxed to let the more ‘innocent’ members (the real people) avoid the same fate, but the onus should most certainly be directed like an arrow towards the true criminals, those who committed and are committing corrupt, immoral, anti-life atrocities against others and Our World using a corporation for cover, like Adani has done already, and is now currently up to its shit-stained eyeballs against aboriginal peoples.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.