​QRC slams ongoing activism against gas industry

Queensland Resources Council head Michael Roche has warned of the increasing threat to the gas industry from activists.

Addressing the Queensland Petroleum Exploration (QUPEX) Association meeting yesterday, Roche stated that the gas industry is as much under threat as the coal mining industry.

He tied the increasing levels of activism together, saying “the campaign being waged against the coal industry had its roots in the perceived success of the anti-coal-seam gas movement”.

“The activists’ 2012 campaign manual –Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom– praises what it describes as Lock the Gate’s ‘phenomenal community backlash’ against coal-seam gas,” Roche said.

It also focused on “exposing the health impacts” of the resources and energy industry.

Within the book, developed by Greenpeace, tactics for the so-called ‘Battle of the Galilee’ include organising landowners to help delay the development of mines and railways while noting the location of coal ports adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is seen as an opportunity for ‘alliance building’ with scientists and industries including fishing and tourism.

“The document goes on to credit Lock the Gate with creating ‘unprecedented political opportunities for coal activists around the country’,” Roche said.

Late last week Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Drew Hutton highlighted what they claim is the QLD government putting ‘unsafe mining’ ahead of Queenslanders’ rights.

“Coal and unconventional gas mining is just not safe but the LNP is hell-bent on forcing it onto Queenslanders regardless of the consequences,” Hutton said.

“Our water, food bowls, communities and health are all at risk and the Newman government falsely assumes it will make a motza out of this unsafe industry. Every financial expert in Australia and overseas knows the bottom has fallen out of the industry and that the LNP’s figures are dodgy at best.”

Roche rejected these claims as more scare tactics.

“As we know the scare campaigns against the coal and gas industries are continuing and supported by other strategies including litigation to ‘disrupt and delay’ key projects, changing the economic narrative via bogus economic reports and denying all reputable forecasts with claims that fossil fuel demand is declining.”

He pointed to a previous QRC checklist released earlier this year, which focused on methods taken by those opposed to mining and the resources industry to shut down QLD’s coal and gas industry.

For example, the strategy of mounting legal challenges to disrupt or delay new projects is well recorded with appeals in the Queensland Land Court over the Alpha coal mine from a Canberra resident and an interest group with a postal address in Brisbane’s West End,” he said.

“The people running these campaigns are promoting ideology over reality without regard to the 400 000 Queenslanders whose livelihoods rely on their resources sector,” Roche told the gathered QUPEX attendees.

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