As health authorities and emergency services leaders brace for potentially catastrophic heatwave conditions, it defies belief that Australia’s Treasurer would hand around a lump of coal in Parliament, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Authorities are warning of risks to health and catastrophic bushfire danger as large parts of eastern Australia face several days of extreme heat.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal into the House of Representatives, supplied to him by the Minerals Council of Australia.

“Australia needs to get off coal if we want a safe world to live in,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Coal is damaging our climate, intensifying heatwaves and bushfires, polluting our air and bleaching the Great Barrier Reef.

“On days of intense heat people should listen to the advice of authorities and check in on neighbours and friends, especially the elderly.

“It is no exaggeration to say coal pollution is a danger to life as we know it in Australia. 

“It defies belief that frontbenchers in our federal government are literally and figuratively holding up coal as a solution for the future.

“It is sad confirmation that the big polluters and their lobbyists are calling the shots in Canberra.

“Not only does the government want to build more coal-fired power stations, it also supports Adani’s plans to dig the biggest-ever coal mine in Australia’s history.

“While the government ignores the warnings and continues to fuel global warming, it must be held accountable for the consequences.

“History will not be kind to the Turnbull Government and its love of coal.

“Australia desperately needs national leaders who will establish a clear plan to replace old, dirty coal-fired power plants with clean, renewable energy and help affected workers and communities through the time of transition,” she said.

Read our media adviser's feature piece about growing local opposition to Adani's plans to dig Australia's biggest coal mine in north Queensland

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910, tom.arup@acf.org.au; or Toby Halligan on 0419 403 016, toby.halligan@acf.org.au For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.