Both Labor and the Opposition voted against a motion yesterrday put by Australian Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon calling on them to reject the proposed forth coal terminal (T4) because of its impact on public health in the Hunter.
See coverage today in the Newcastle Herald
The full motion is below. Senator Rhiannon is attending the Stop T4 rally in Newcastle this Saturday.
"Sadly last week's shocking air pollution results along the Hunter coal rail corridor was not enough to convince Labor and Coalition MPs to support this motion and stand up to coal expansion ," said Senator Rhiannon.
"It is an empty gesture for MPs to furrow their brows and make concerned noises about the health impact on locals if they don't actually act.
"The Greens' motion in the Senate congratulated CTAG and the wider Hunter community for taking action to protect local health and the environment against the impact of coal industry expansion and calls on the NSW and federal governments to reject the T4 project.
"Independent air quality testing showed that Tighes Hill and Carrington had dust pollution levels well in excess of national pollution standards on at least five out of seven days. This is bad news for the thousands of people living, working and going to school up and down the Hunter coal corridor.
"There is no known safe level of exposure to particulate pollution, and international studies have demonstrated direct causal links between particulate pollution and adverse health impacts such as such as asthma and increased risks of cancer.
"When pushed Labor and Coalition MPs will not go on the record as opposing the controversial T4 coal port proposal and continued expansion of coal in the Hunter or stand up against worsening air pollution", said Senator Rhiannon.
Notice of Motion - Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales)
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:
That the Senate-
1) Notes that:
a. Recent independent air quality testing in Hunter suburbs near the coal rail line that leads to Newcastle Harbour revealed coal dust pollution levels over 50 per cent above the national standard for particulates 10micron and less, which affects approximately 30,000 people living within 500 metres of the rail line.
b. There are no known safe levels of exposure to particulate pollution, and international studies have demonstrated direct causal links between particulate pollution and adverse health impacts such as such as asthma, increased risks of cancer, heart and lung disease and birth defects, including in mining regions.
c. A current Senate inquiry into the impacts on health of air quality has received many submissions from concerned groups and individuals based in the Hunter.
d. Hunter residents will express their concern that air pollution and coal dust from coal mines, coal trains and coal stockpiles is adversely affecting their health and the environment at a community rally in Newcastle on Saturday 16 March 2013, organised by the Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG), a coalition of 18 Hunter based community groups.
e. The community rally will ask state and federal governments to reject the proposal by Port Waratah Coal Services to construct a new fourth coal export terminal called T4 in Newcastle Harbour that would drive up further coal dust pollution and adversely impact the environment.
2) Calls on the Senate to:
a. Congratulate CTAG and the wider Hunter community for taking action to protect their health and the local environment against the impact of coal industry expansion.
b. Call on the NSW government and federal government to reject the T4 project.