Tough-nut locals in Clermont will refuse to serve activists in their pubs and cafes as their tiny town becomes ground zero for hundreds of anti-Adani protesters led by former Greens leader Bob Brown.
Activists left Tasmania yesterday for 10 rallies in four states over 18 days but the Queensland town closest to the Adani’s Carmichael mine wants protesters to go back, warning they would not be welcome in a town desperate for jobs.
It comes as the State Government announced a $1 billion coal mine in the Galilee Basin that could create 500 jobs in construction has been declared a co-ordinated project by the independent Coordinator-General.
The Winchester South project near Moranbah, west of Mackay, could start construction by 2021 and is an open-cut metallurgical coal mine that could produce up to 8 million tonnes of coal for 30 years.
There are genuine fears that if the Adani mine gets scuttled it could prevent six other mines in the Galilee Basin from going ahead.
About 500-800 anti-Adani activists are expected to join the convoy, which will campaign in Brisbane over Easter before heading up the coast and then west to the 2000-strong town of Clermont.
“Do not come up here. We don’t want you coming here and wrecking our industry,’’ Grand Hotel Motel publican Kelly Appleton warned. “You will not get a meal in my pub.”
It is a message echoed by Leo Hotel Motel publican Les Boal and other businesses who are putting up signs telling activists they will not be served.
Communities across north and central Queensland are retaliating against the anti-mining blow-ins, printing pro-Adani material and rounding up support for a project that will become a defining issue of the federal election campaign.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale will join protesters and camp at the Clermont showgrounds, which is about 140km from the Carmichael Mine. Senator Di Natale is refusing to reveal whether he will force the taxpayer pick up the bill for his portion of the trip.
The 5700km protest, which ends in Canberra on May 5, encourages activists to bring their own vehicles. If just 100 average-emitting cars were to make the journey, the convoy would spew out 104 tonnes of carbon pollution. About 3700 trees would need to be planted to sequester the Co2.
The Bob Brown Foundation has raised more than $75,000, including offering a personalised postcard for $1000 from Dr Brown “posted from somewhere between Hobart and north Queensland”.
Locals, angry that Isaac Regional Council has granted the protesters a camping permit, have stuck pro-Adani signs on shops, cars and letterboxes.
Mr Appleton said the town needed Adani to go ahead.
“We need it. We cannot exist with wind and solar jobs,” Mr Appleton said.
“My hotel, the supermarket, it depends on the mines.”
Coal miner Peter Smith, 57, whose father was a coal miner and whose sons are also coal miners, said people in the cities had no idea what regional communities needed.
“I went to Byron Bay recently and I just shake my head. People down there aren’t the same as us,’’ he said. “We work and the Government gives them handouts.”
The council’s Facebook page has been inundated by comments from residents.
“An absolutely appalling decision. Council is elected to represent the community but in this case they have completely ignored the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the community,’’ one wrote.