The Greens have strongly criticised the decision to approve a fourth coal loader at Port Newcastle as an irresponsible act that will impose a massive health burden on people of the Hunter, damage local wildlife habitat and cause more extreme weather events.
On the eve of the United Nations Climate Change Conference this decision to expand coal exports will make Australia an international laughing stock.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and Deputy Lord Mayor Greens Newcastle City councillor Michael Osborne said that while the decision of the Planning Assessment Commission to approve the T4 coal loader is a setback the Greens are confident that the project can still be stopped by community action.
Senator Rhiannon said: "The PAC has shown how out of step with reality it is, as the world is turning its back on coal.
"It is highly irresponsible for Australia to increase coal exports. This project if it ever gets off the ground would be a driver of dangerous climate change.
"The Greens will stand with the community to oppose the construction of the T4 at every step of the way.
"The T4 is a white elephant - set to become a symbol of the failure of the government to ensure we do not end up with stranded assets in the years to come.
Mr Osborne said: "While the PAC may have given the go ahead for T4 it is the Coalition and Labor parties that are behind this massive coal expansion. For years they have allowed a weak planning process to be abused by corporate interests.
"The high air pollution along the Hunter rail corridor alone was reason enough to stop this project in its tracks.
"The T4 will cause more damage to farming land and local natural habitat as coal owners race to expand their coal mines to push out exports before the coal price drops further.
"There will be some well-heeled donors to the Liberal, National and Labor parties very pleased with this decision.
"One the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris how can our plans on climate change be taken seriously if we plan to expand coal exports," Mr Osborne said.
Brami Jegan for Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880
Michael Osborne 0439 442 984