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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 November 2014) . . Page.. 4010 ..


imputation of improper motives or personal reflection. I do not believe it was actually unparliamentary language. But can I remind members that at all times we should treat each other with dignity and respect.

Environment—climate change

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.55): Yesterday the Obama administration’s climate change envoy Todd Stern said this about solving the problem of global climate change:

It is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground … We are not going to get rid of fossil fuel overnight but we are not going to solve climate change on the basis of all the fossil fuels that are in the ground are going to have to come out. That’s pretty obvious.

Wise words indeed.

Last Thursday I had the privilege of visiting the Leard forest and the people who are speaking out against the development of the Maules Creek mine, which is being developed by Whitehaven Coal. Campaigners there are working hard to realise the beginning of that vision outlined by Todd Stern, a world where we leave fossil fuels in the ground because we know that taking them out is on the pathway of making the problem worse.

It is a very committed and passionate bunch of people who, for many months now, have been standing their ground for the Leard forest, in defence of the climate and in defence of that amazing area around Maules Creek. Maules Creek coalmine is the largest coalmine currently under construction in Australia. The Maules Creek coalmine, together with Boggabri Coal and Tarrawonga, will destroy over 5,000 hectares of forest. The Leard forest is home to 3,421 hectares of nationally listed and critically endangered box gum woodland. It is also home to over 390 species of birds and animals, more than 30 of which are endangered. The Maules Creek coal mine will also destroy sacred cultural sites in the forest, sites of significant heritage for Aboriginal history here in Australia.

If this mine goes ahead, more than half the forest will be destroyed and the remainder will suffer from a major drop in the watertable and pollution from coal dust. In addition, I spoke with farmers in the area who are significantly concerned by that drop in the watertable and the implications of that for what are valuable agricultural lands. This is an issue facing a range of areas across agricultural Australia where these sorts of developments are actively interfering with food production and important agricultural areas of this country.

When you put all of that together, this is a project that, by all assessments, simply should not be going ahead. None of those environmental outcomes or social outcomes justifies the construction of a coalmine at a time when we need to be moving beyond fossil fuels, and leaving those fossil fuels in the ground that we can, in order to protect our climate as well as protect us from the immediate environmental impacts of a mine like Maules Creek.


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