Clermont workers and residents are unhappy about anti-Adani protesters coming to town. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Clermont workers and residents are unhappy about anti-Adani protesters coming to town. Picture: Nigel Hallett

Fed-up town refusing to serve activists

TOUGH-NUT locals in Clermont will refuse to serve activists in their pubs and cafes as their tiny town becomes ground zero for hundreds of anti-Adani protesters led by former Greens leader Bob Brown.

It comes as the State Government announced a $1 billion coal mine in the Galilee Basin that could create 500 jobs in construction has been declared a co-ordinated project by the independent Coordinator-General.

The Winchester South project near Moranbah, west of Mackay, could start construction by 2021 and is an open-cut metallurgical coal mine that could produce up to 8 million tonnes of coal for 30 years.

There are genuine fears that if the Adani mine gets scuttled it could prevent six other mines in the Galilee Basin from going ahead.

About 500-800 anti-Adani activists are expected to join the convoy, which will campaign in Brisbane over Easter before heading up the coast and then west to the 2000-strong town of Clermont.

"Do not come up here. We don't want you coming here and wrecking our industry,'' Grand Hotel Motel publican Kelly Appleton warned. "You will not get a meal in my pub."

It is a message echoed by Leo Hotel Motel publican Les Boal and other businesses who are putting up signs telling activists they will not be served.

Communities across north and central Queensland are retaliating against the anti-mining blow-ins, printing pro-Adani material and rounding up support for a project that will become a defining issue of the federal election campaign.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale will join protesters and camp at the Clermont showgrounds, which is about 140km from the Carmichael Mine. Senator Di Natale is refusing to reveal whether he will force the taxpayer pick up the bill for his portion of the trip.

The 5700km protest, which ends in Canberra on May 5, encourages activists to bring their own vehicles. If just 100 average-emitting cars were to make the journey, the convoy would spew out 104 tonnes of carbon pollution. About 3700 trees would need to be planted to sequester the Co2.

 

The Grand Hotel Motel Clermont publican Kelvin Appleton. Picture: Nigel Hallett
The Grand Hotel Motel Clermont publican Kelvin Appleton. Picture: Nigel Hallett

 

The Bob Brown Foundation has raised more than $75,000, including offering a personalised postcard for $1000 from Dr Brown "posted from somewhere between Hobart and north Queensland".

Locals, angry that Isaac Regional Council has granted the protesters a camping permit, have stuck pro-Adani signs on shops, cars and letterboxes.

Mr Appleton said the town needed Adani to go ahead.

"We need it. We cannot exist with wind and solar jobs," Mr Appleton said.

"My hotel, the supermarket, it depends on the mines."

Coal miner Peter Smith, 57, whose father was a coal miner and whose sons are also coal miners, said people in the cities had no idea what regional communities needed.

"I went to Byron Bay recently and I just shake my head. People down there aren't the same as us,'' he said. "We work and the Government gives them handouts."

The council's Facebook page has been inundated by comments from residents.

"An absolutely appalling decision. Council is elected to represent the community but in this case they have completely ignored the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the community,'' one wrote.

"Why would a council in a mining town approve this? These mines support nearly all of us,'' another said.

 

Former Greens leader Bob Brown is leading the Stop Adani Convoy. Picture: Eddie Safarik.
Former Greens leader Bob Brown is leading the Stop Adani Convoy. Picture: Eddie Safarik.

 

Isaac councillor Greg Austen said the council had received legal advice suggesting it should not deny a permit.

"There's only one road in and one road out so they won't be all over the place,'' Cr Austen said. "We definitely want jobs and families in this town. It's not just about the freight, but the people who come in and buy a cup of ­coffee or a loaf of bread."

Bowen Chamber of Commerce chairman Bruce Hedditch has printed 2000 pro-Adani stickers and has sent them to coalmining supporters across the state.

"I don't think people in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, in their coffee shops, fully understand what Adani is trying to do,'' Mr Hedditch said yesterday. "We get upset because there is so much fake news. Without this mine, kids leave, families leave, and then we lose a teacher and a nurse. It all flows through."



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