Surveys reveal 89% support covering coal wagons; health concerns influence voting intentions

A survey commissioned by Lock the Gate Alliance and conducted by Essential Research has revealed that 89% of NSW people supported the proposal for New South Wales to “require all coal railway wagons to be fully covered to minimise dust”.

The survey results follow the release of the Coal Terminal Action Group’s ‘Coal Train Signature Study’ that showed coal trains increase particle pollution by up to 13 times background levels in Newcastle.

"The coal rail line is the responsibility of the Federal Government, through the ARTC. Federal election candidates must come clean with the people from the Hunter who are suffering the health impacts from coal trains. Will they act to cover the coal trains?” said Lock the Gate Hunter coordinator Steve Philips.

A separate independent survey of 165 Newcastle people commissioned by the Hunter Community Environment Centre confirmed a high level of voter support for measures to control coal dust:

  • 69% were “concerned that the planned fourth coal terminal will have a negative impact on the environment”,
  • 67% were “concerned that the dust / particulate pollution from the planned fourth coal terminal will have a negative impact on community health”,
  • 58% said their concern about the proposed coal terminal would influence how they vote in terms of the upcoming federal election, and
  • 46% would “vote for a candidate or Party that committed to addressing health concerns before approving a fourth coal terminal” (42% were “not sure”).

“These results make it clear that parties contesting the Federal election ignore the Hunter’s poor air quality at their peril. Any candidate hoping to win the seat of Newcastle must commit to covering and washing coal wagons”, said CTAG spokesperson Paul Winn.

The release of the survey results coincides with a visit to Newcastle by Federal Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, who will visit coal terminals and train lines with CTAG members today.

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