March 24, 2018

Thousands call for clean water, land, energy at #Time2Choose rally in Sydney

SYDNEY, Saturday March 24, 2018: Thousands of people from communities around the state will march in Sydney’s CBD today calling on the NSW Government to prioritise clean water, air and land over coal and gas projects, and to repower NSW with renewable energy to tackle climate change.

The #Time2Choose march will be led by First Nations people and followed by 25 horseback riders.

Lock the Gate Alliance’s Georgina Woods said: “Today marks one year until the state government election, and we are here to put members of NSW parliament on notice.”  

“NSW is at a crossroads. We can have a future of productive land, clean and secure water and air, reliable clean and affordable energy. But that bright future is at risk from coal and coal seam gas mining that damages farmland, communities and heritage. It’s time to choose.

“This is just the beginning. These united communities will push the case to protect land and water from mining and repower NSW with renewable energy, and to make that transition fair for everyone.”    

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “We have one of the most coal-dependent energy systems in the world, with 79% of our electricity coming from coal. Meanwhile, the Berejiklian government is squandering a clean-energy jobs and investment bonanza and failing to tackle climate change.

“The transition from coal and gas to solar, wind and storage will attract $25 billion of investment, the construction of about 2,500 wind turbines and installation of more 42 million solar panels across the state.

“It’s a big job, but making the NSW electricity system 100% renewable is 100% doable. The only thing missing is strong political leadership.” Campaigner Neha Madhok said: “The impacts of climate change are felt right here in NSW, with temperature records being broken monthly, and climate patterns becoming less predictable and more extreme. The bushfires, heat waves, droughts and floods that Australia has always known are getting worse, and will worsen with rising global temperatures, fuelled by by greenhouse gases.  

“The cost of our addiction to fossil fuels is skyrocketing – from the impacts of an erratic climate, to the lawsuits that are following in their wake, uninsurable properties, lost farmland, destroyed heritage and poisoned water. It’s more than we can afford. The system is broken and we need to fix it.”    

Naomi Hodgson, The Wilderness Society, said: Santos’ proposal for the massive Narrabri coal seam gasfield in the Pilliga forest threatens the greatest inland woodland in eastern Australia. The Pilliga is a haven for endangered species and protects a critical recharge area for the Great Artesian Basin. There is no safe place for coal seam gas in NSW, it threatens communities, precious groundwater aquifers and farmland, and the climate, wherever it goes. CSG in the Pilliga threatens all these values as well as an irreplaceable wilderness area and cultural heritage of the Gamilaraay people.”  

Coonamble farmer and grandmother of 13 Anne Kennedy said: “I’m here because our precious groundwater is our lifeblood and our livelihood. We’re in the fight of our lives against Santos’s Narrabri CSG gasfield and the pipeline that comes with it, and we’ll take it all the way to the next election.”

Southern Tablelands farmer Charlie Prell said: “I’m hosting wind turbines on my land that will produce clean, cheap renewable energy while they add a new level of economic resilience to my farm and my community. We all need to choose this clean-energy future instead of the fossil fuels that our politicians are addicted to. We can’t wait any longer for them to act. We have to take the lead now!”

Gomeroi man Raymond Weatherall said: “Aboriginal people should not have to trade our land and cultural heritage for jobs and development. Our culture is our life and we need to protect it from coal and gas mining for our kids’ sake.”

Photos, video from today’s rally and background details will be available here

To arrange interviews contact: Louise Fraser on 0438 993 068