Why LEAN is against T4
Newcastle is the largest coal export harbour in the world. In the past 15 years the Port of Newcastle's coal export capacity has tripled to over 210 million tonnes per annum.
This rapid expansion of coal mining has had huge implications for the environment and the health of the people of the Hunter.
The coal industry now wants to expand the coal export capacity of Newcastle by half again by building a new coal loading facility, known as T4 (Terminal 4).
As a Party of equity and fairness, Labor needs to take stock. Before giving the mining industry this free kick we need to consider the health costs created by coal and its dust from mine to port. We need to consider the environmental impacts both locally and globally. IT'S TIME TO SLOW DOWN.
Impacts on our community's health
Coal Dust is a nasty, dangerous impact of mining. During mining, transport and storage small particles of coal take to the air and are breathed in by those in surrounding communities. Coal dust has been associated with heart, lung and kidney cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and birth defects.
Locals also notice their washing going grey, their cars needing regular washes, their houses getting stained. Some dust monitoring currently occurs in the Hunter. In 2011, the results from this monitoring exceeded the national health standards 98 times! Worst of all, the smaller deadlier particles are not currently being monitored.
- T4's 120 million tonne increase in export capacity would mean an additional 40, uncovered, 90-wagon trains per day travelling through the Hunter from mine to Port.
- 23,000 children go to 60 schools which sit within 500 m of the coal rail corridor.
- The coal stockpiles of T4 would be uncovered, blowing dust into Stockton and Mayfield West.
- Coal dust is also generated at the site of mining and continues to blow over neighbouring communities for many years after mining has ceased.
As a Party that stands up for our communities and values social justice, Labor cannot allow communities to cop health impacts on behalf of mining interests.
What’s more the proponent has stated there will be no additional continuing jobs associated with T4.
Impacts on our planet
To feed T4 we will need to open 15 new, large, open cut mines in the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah basin. This coal would create 300 million tonnes of Greenhouse pollution each year.
NSW has an estimated 12 billion tonnes of coal still underground, primarily in the Hunter. That's 30 billion tonnes of carbon emissions currently safely locked away. Mindless exploitation of this resource is not an option for a warming planet.
A Party that believes in climate change needs to address this and resolve the contradiction in limitless coal expansion and the future of the earth.
T4 will not only have a negative impact on the global environment, but also a negative impact on the local environment. The Federal Environment Department noted in its submission on the T4 proposal that the internationally recognised RAMSAR listed Hunter Wetlands which sit adjacent to the site would be negatively impacted by T4. In addition to these precious wetlands, there are myriad of other local environmental impacts from mines, including poor management which can lead to toxic legacies that remain for many generations.
NSW LEAN and T4
The Labor Environment Activist Network is a group of Labor people who care for the planet. We celebrate Labor's legacy of environmental protections and campaign to ensure environment is central to its future.
Labor values of equity and fairness require us to consider intergenerational equity, leaving a healthy planet for future generations. A commitment to collectivism requires that we care for the collective resource of the planet that sustains us.
We are not trying to shut down the coal mining industry. Coal is a part of our history and will be a part of our future. We note that mining accounts for 5.1% of employment in the Hunter. We are calling for a measured response to coal dust pollution which protects people and a proper consideration of what coal expansion means for climate change. T4 is a step too far.
Join LEAN in calling on our state parliamentary representatives to say NO TO T4.
Join LEAN or contact us by emailing [email protected]
 Coal loading capacity in Newcastle Harbour in 1997 was 77 million tonnes per annum. Today it is 210 million tonnes per annum. The T4 proposal seeks to increase this by another 120 million tonnes to 330 million tonnes per annum.
 Quoted in Port Waratah Coal Services’ T4 Environmental Assessment, February 2012, available for download from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure website
 August 2011, quoted in Parliamentary Library Research Service E-Brief, The Hunter Region: An Economic Profile