Creating Change: Direct Action

Quit Coal believes strongly in the use of peaceful Direct Action and civil disobedience. The government has created laws that protect the fossil fuel industry despite the enormous damage it inflicts and we believe that challenging these laws can bring attention to this immorality.

Direct Action has been used safely and peacefully throughout Australia’s history of protecting our environment. When average people are willing to risk arrest for the protection of our land, health, communities and climate it show incredible commitment and passion.


The Coal Seam Gas industry has expanded rapidly across NSW with no regard for the well-being of the people there. However, many brave people have used direct action to blockade work sites all over the state and stop this destructive drilling. In Glenugie, the community blockaded a drilling site for over 50 days, successfully keeping company Metgasco from accessing the property. Many people were arrested during the blockade while exercising their right to peaceful protest. On January 7, 2013, six people were kept in custody overnight, the average age of the six protesters was over 55. This was an empowering and forceful demonstration of people resisting harmful mining and exploration. In the Northern Rivers region, community resistance to CSG operations eventually led to the gas company Metgasco suspending operations.

In Western Australia, a fierce battle was waged over a proposed gas hub in James Price Point. A beautiful coastal area and important Aboriginal site, there was enormous community opposition to the project. There were years of vigorous, creative and effective direct action resistance at every stage of the project. In August 2013, after huge time and cost blow-outs, reputational damage and national pressure, company Woodside dumped the project.

In September 2013, 30 Greenpeace activists were arrested for a direct action protest at a Russian oil rig in the Arctic Ocean. Energy company Gazprom has been exploiting melting ice there to drill for more of the fossil fuels that are warming our world. Their ship was stormed and the activists were arrested. They could be charged with piracy, despite the peaceful nature of their protest, which could result in 15 years imprisonment in a Russian jail. To find out more about their amazing direct action sacrifice or support them, go here.

Whatever the method, peaceful direct action has been instrumental in creating awareness around incredibly important issues and helping to implement change.