Fewer than 10% of Newcastle residents support the proposed fourth coal terminal, 68% feel affected by the existing terminals and almost half consider the expansion of the coal industry bad for the community. These and other findings were reported in an attitudinal survey released today.
The Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG) commissioned a survey of community attitudes toward the proposed fourth coal terminal for Newcastle port. The survey was conducted by 55 community members who door-knocked almost 500 households in Newcastle suburbs last month.
The survey found that:
- 77% of residents do not want any more coal loaders in Newcastle. This includes coal industry workers.
- Fewer than 10% of residents want more coal loaders.
- Of the respondents who consider the expansion of the coal industry good for the community, 70% are opposed to the proposed fourth coal terminal.
- 81% of residents are aware that a fourth coal terminal is proposed, but few people know much detail about it beyond being aware of the general location.
- 74% of Newcastle residents are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the proposed fourth coal terminal.
- Dust, health and pollution are people’s top concerns. Respondents mentioned concerns about dust more than twice as frequently as any other issue. Noise and traffic are the second and third most frequently mentioned concerns.
- 68% of residents feel “very” or “somewhat” affected by the three existing coal terminals.
- 69% of residents are “very” (46%) or “somewhat” (23%) concerned about the impact of coal trains passing through Newcastle suburbs. Only 25% of respondents are not concerned.
- 39% of respondents report that they or a member of their household suffers from a respiratory ailment and one-third of these people consider that the ailment is caused by coal.
- Almost half (46%) of all respondents feel that the expansion of the coal industry is “bad” for the community, 19% of respondents feel it is “good” and 9% think it is both “good and bad”.
“We call on the NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard to suspend the planning process for T4,” said CTAG spokesperson Ms Annika Dean. “Community attitudes must be taken into account in infrastructure decisions and this survey demonstrates the Newcastle community is strongly opposed to this proposal.”
The fourth coal-loading terminal would double the volume of coal transported through Newcastle, resulting in at least 90 more coal train movements each day, 15 new large open cut mines and an additional 120 million tones of coal loaded and exported from Newcastle Harbour. The planned coal terminal expansion will also destroy internationally significant wetland habitats in the Hunter estuary that support important populations of migratory shore birds, threatened wetland birds and Green & Golden Bell Frogs'.