Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon has welcomed Paterson MP Bob Baldwin’s support for the campaign to tackle Hunter coal dust, calling on him to push the federal government to use the billions in federal funding for Hunter coal rail infrastructure as leverage to force companies to limit dust from coal trains (Newcastle Herald, 16/8/12, http://tinyurl.com/d7je9ml).
“Mr Baldwin could play a special role in the campaign to cover coal rail wagons by lobbying Transport Minister Anthony Albanese to make federal funding earmarked for coal rail lines conditional on dust suppression”, Senator Rhiannon said.
“The federal government, through the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), is planning to put more than $3.5 billion into Hunter coal rail infrastructure to support the controversial T4 coal port expansion.
"If T4 goes ahead, locals up and down the rail corridor will have to put up with 41 more coal trains chugging past every day and unknown amounts of ultrafine particle pollution.
"This is not a time for buck passing. Both the NSW and federal government have to come to the table to restore confidence that the health of locals is put front and centre.
“Minister Albanese could push the ARTC to hold back future funding until coal companies can guarantee that rail wagons will be covered, health and environmental conditions will be met and ongoing monitoring is in place.
“I strongly urge Mr Baldwin to stand up for his community by taking this campaign to federal Labor”, said Senator Rhiannon.
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