In contrast to the claims of protesters, not everyone is opposed to fossil fuels. The majority of Australians rely on coal and gas-fired electricity to run their businesses, heat their homes and keep the lights on.
So it may be no wonder that north Queenslanders, renowned for their direct approach to life, are getting impatient with protesters trying to tell them what to do in respect of resources utilisation.
Townsville road and rail movements were disrupted this week by anti-coal protesters, including one group which chained themselves to a rail line – forcing police to waste time and effort to cut them free.
The protests didn’t go down well with a lot of locals.
The Townsville Bulletin carried a news report and opinion article critical of the protesters, their actions and their attitude.
Under the headline “Don’t dictate to north Queensland”, the newspaper said the local community had sent a clear message to the protesters: “Don’t come to town telling us our way of life is abhorrent”.
It was an interesting reversal of the common activist claim that they represent communities – and have ‘overwhelming public support’. We have seen it countless towns in Lock The Gate protests, where they claim their push-poll surveys prove that 97 per cent (or some similarly high number) of the population support their views.
Not so in north Queensland, according to the Bulletin:
“As soon as word broke that protesters were planning to camp in Bowen for a week and stage protests around Adani’s Abbot Point coal shipping terminal, the community reacted quickly,” the paper said.
Bowen locals tore down protest signs from trees, proudly flew pro-mining Adani flags in the Streets; and many local businesses “refused to serve anyone sporting ‘Stop Adani’ shirts”.
Bowen police arrested two lots of protesters – the train gang and another group who blocked a road the day before.
According to the paper, police “…performed their duties professionally and with courtesy, despite the goading of the protesters and their crew of videographers hoping to capture some drama for their Facebook mates”.
‘Keep it in the ground’ protesters such as Lock The Gate have been equally disruptive at facilities in NSW, where they are trying to stop development of natural gas resources which are now widely acknowledged as desperately needed.
In Narrabri, in northern NSW, locals showed the Lock The Gate ‘overwhelming support’ surveys there to be way off the mark.
In fact, of the submissions from locals to the Government’s environmental assessment of the proposed natural gas project at Narrabri, more than half were in favour.
It may not be north Queensland, but it seems people in parts of northern NSW may also be a little tired of being told what to do by “out-of-town do-gooders”, as the Bulletin described the protesters.