Dozens of central Victorians concerned about coal and climate change have gathered in Bendigo as part of a national day of action.
More than 50 people attended the #NoNewCoal event at the entrance to Rosalind Park on Saturday morning, part of an initiative organised nationally by Frontline Action on Coal.
Almost all were dressed in red to highlight the call to “draw a red line through new coal projects”, and held placards voicing their message, some calling on local politicians to take action.
Mel Abel, from Bendigo District Australian Conservation Foundation, said the issue was of importance to the region, with it being a bushfire-prone area affected by climate change.
“We want to draw a bit more attention to the fact that climate change is happening… and we need to put a stop to coal,” Mrs Abel said.
Mrs Abel said as a developed country, Australia had an obligation to lead the way.
Central Victoria Climate Action’s Trevor Scott said as a father of three and grandfather to 10, he was doing it “for their future, as much as my own”.
“I believe if we don’t take action on climate change, we’re going to lose life on Earth as we know it,” Mr Scott said.
Climate change was real, he said, and action had to be taken immediately.
Another member of the climate action group, Jim Roberts, said once the Earth warmed by 2 degrees, all the major issues – such as the melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels – would grow worse.
But he said the Earth would not be able to stay below that threshold if coal continued to be used.
Saturday’s participants were met with the occasional honk of support from passing vehicles, but at least one passer-by took issue with their stance.
Adani, the company behind the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, has promised the project will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
But Mrs Abel said renewable energy options had the capacity to provide jobs and could be good for the economy. “Renewables around the world are booking and Australia is being left behind,” she said.
The Australian Conservation Foundation also carried out surveys on climate change in Bendigo, the results of which will be passed onto federal MP Lisa Chesters.