Scores of central Victorians joined thousands of Australians across the country on Saturday in protest against the controversial Adani coal mine.
The event, organised by the Bendigo Sustainability Group, saw people gather to form the words ‘Stop Adani’ when viewed from above.
The protest was part of a nationwide day of action against the huge mine proposed for central Queensland.
Chris Weir, from the Bendigo Sustainability Group, said more than 200 people attended the protest.
Mr Weir said the mine would contribute to climate change, when there had already been some record-breaking warm temperatures this past winter and the approaching summer was expected to be hot. “Let’s leave coal in the ground,” he said.
The potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef has been a particular focus of opponents to the mine.
The issue has been heightened with the impending announcement of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund’s first concessional loans, with a $1 billion loan to help fund infrastructure for the mine a possibility.
While a minister does not make the decision, it can be vetoed by the Minister for Northern Australia.
The protests meant politicians would see the issue as something people across Australia were passionate about, Mr Weir said, and if the federal government decided to support the mine, “there is quite a big community that won’t take this lying down”.
Bendigo resident Sharon Newth, one of the protesters at the weekend, said she joined because she believed the country should move towards renewable energy and cease using coal as an energy source.
For Ian White, the mine is a “crazy proposition” for several reasons, including the possible impacts on groundwater and farmers in the area, the potential government support, and that “coal as a fuel is on its way out”.
Adani says the mine will be a boon for employment, and recently announced it would base more than 1000 workers in Townsville and Rockhampton.
The mine is supported by the Queensland Labor government.
Mr Weir thanked protest organiser Michelle Pollard and others for putting the event together.