Climate change activists have descended on a major resources industry conference, in a protest demanding the State Government end its support for fossil fuel industry.
More than 200 anti-climate change protesters gathered in Perth’s CBD, marching on to the Perth Convention Centre where industry leaders gathered during the Resources Technology Showcase, angry at state support for the fossil fuel industry, while demanding to meet Premier Mark McGowan.
University students and members from student unions, guilds, workers unions, Extinction Rebellion WA and XR Grandparents met from 8am outside the venue.
They were joined by another 100 or so high school student from School Strike 4 Climate Change at about 10am, after writing to the Mr McGowan.
Protestors wrote that the conference involved “the biggest players in the fossil fuel industry, and the biggest carbon polluters” in WA and in the world, including Chevron, Rio Tinto and Woodside.
They stated that emissions in WA had increased by 23 per cent since 2005.
The activists called on the Premier to “protect the people” as “an elected representative of the people.”
“In facing a crisis as vast and urgent as the climate crisis, we need our governments to be doing everything in their power to work towards climate justice, to work towards ensuring the safety of people that will be adversely affected by climate change,” they said.
Mr McGowan was scheduled to hold a media conference inside the building at 10:30am, but he did not leave to speak to protestors.
WA Police promised to deploy the biggest security operation since the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2011.
However, protestors say they had communicated with police over the previous four weeks, stating that they had intended to keep the protest action peaceful and not prevent anyone from entering or leaving the building.
Greens MLC Tim Clifford said Mr McGowan should have spoken to the protesters.
“I’m absolutely disappointed,” Mr Clifford said.
“These people here, a lot of young people are expecting the Premier to come face them and justify why they’re not doing anything about climate change.”
He added the State Government was not doing enough by support projects that were produced heavy emissions and fracking.
“There are some initiatives that are positive,” Mr Clifford said.
“(But) It doesn’t matter what we do across the metropolitan region with regards to renewables as long as we have a project off the North West shelf that’s going to emit four times the amount of emissions of Adani. They’re supporting that.”
“Any good work they do in this state will be negated by these massive projects.”
He said the government needed to listen to the community.
“The government needs to make sure they have the ear of the community before they have the ear of business,” Mr Clifford said.
“The big businesses here donate a lot of money to political parties to ensure that they can continue to pollute without paying for anything.”