Chesters responds as Adani activists rally outside office

UPDATE: ​The Labor member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has responded to activists who called on her to speak out against the Adani coal mine.

Labor supports the plan for the coal mine in Carmichael.

Protesters also asked Ms Chesters to speak out in parliament against Adani’s alleged business practices and said Labor should “an alternative to the coalition, which is so hell-bent on supporting coal billionaires no matter what the consequences”, according to a statement they delivered to the parliamentarian.

"I met with the protesters and listened to their concerns but I believe they are asking the wrong question,” Ms Chesters said.

She argued it was important to modernise the electricity sector, saying it was the largest source of carbon pollution in the economy.

Ms Chesters pointed to Labor’s plans for an electricity modernisation review as well as an “orderly transition” away from coal-fired power stations with a focus on supporting working communities.

Labor would also implement an electricity generation scheme.

EARLIER: Activists have marched on Lisa Chesters’ office to pressure the member for Bendigo to speak in parliament against Adani’s proposed coal mine in Carmichael.

About 30 activists from the Bendigo electorate’s grassroots environmentalist groups and the Greens marched from the Bendigo Train Station on Friday.

Macedon Ranges Stop Adani activist and rally organiser Jenny Zimmerman said before the rally that a survey of 300 people across the electorate found 89 per cent of respondents wanted Ms Chesters to take action to oppose the mine.

Labor opposed a $1 billion federal loan for mine infrastructure. The survey found 95 per cent of respondents opposed the loan and 89 per cent opposed the mine.

“When we were out (surveying people) in the community at shopping centres and train stations we noticed there was a strong sentiment of opposition to the Adani coal mine,” she said.

“We know the ALP had backed down on support for the loan to Adani, but they are still officially supporting the mine.”

Ms Zimmerman said the region was under increased threat from climate change and drought and that 96 per cent of survey respondents believed it was time to switch to safe, clean renewables.

Before the protest Ms Chesters told the Bendigo Advertiser she welcomed the chance to meet with activists, saying she had also had a meeting with Castlemaine-based activists in recent weeks.

However, she reiterated Labor’s position on the mine.

“On Adani, Labor does not support any investment of tax payers money. If it goes ahead, Adani will be owned by an Indian company, with all profit and 100% of the coal exported to India,” she said.

Labor believed Adani would have no impact on the current energy crisis currently facing Australia.

“Unlike the Turnbull Liberal Government, Labor believes in renewable energy and wants to see 50 per cent of our electricity energy mix generated by renewable energy by 2030,” Ms Chesters said.

“More renewable energy will push down power prices and will bring billions of dollars of new investment, create jobs and reduce pollution.”

It is understood Ms Chesters is meeting with activists now to hear their concerns and accept their survey.

The activists planned to present Ms Chesters with a list of requests.

More to come.