NSW Planning Minister targeted in coal terminal protest: Community needs relief from dust not doubling coal exports

A group of peaceful protestors have blocked the entrance to the NSW Department of Planning, calling on Minister Hazzard to reject the proposed fourth coal terminal in Newcastle.

The activists are protesting the health impacts of the proposed coal terminal. Dressed in hospital gowns and masks, the activists have chained themselves to a hospital bed and are displaying a large banner reading: “Brad, Stop the Hunter Health Hazzard.”

“Coal dust is already making people in Newcastle sick. Another coal terminal means more mines, twice as many uncovered coal trains and stockpiles and more dust, which already exceeds national health standards,” said Alex McInnis one of the protest organizers.

A recent community survey of 500 Newcastle households* demonstrated significant opposition to the new coal terminal with only 10% of residents surveyed supporting a new coal terminal in Newcastle.

“By far, the number one concern raised by residents is the impact of coal dust on their health and the health of family members,” said Alex.

The Environmental Assessment for the proposed loader was criticised by NSW Health and Newcastle City Council and attracted 450 submissions, more than 90% of which objected to the development.

“The planning system in New South Wales is designed to facilitate development and will almost certainly recommend the terminal’s approval. It’s a process tipped in favour of King Coal that condemns the Newcastle community to suffer decades of poor health.”

“Brad Hazzard, as the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure holds the power to make this important decision. He can surrender to pressure from the coal companies and create a dangerous health hazard, or stand up to protect community health. It’s his choice,” said Alex.

“We are calling on Minister Hazzard to suspend the planning process for T4 and reject the project. The risks to community health are too great.”

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