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Students and workers demand climate jobs and justice

Spirited chants of “keep the planet green and clean, send the bosses to the guillotine” were heard in the streets.

Photography by Aman Kapoor

Hundreds of people marched from Martin Place to Belmore Park in a protest demanding climate justice and jobs today.

A major focus of the rally was Indigenous sovereignty and justice, with speakers such as Uncle Bruce Shillingsworth highlighting the destruction of Indigenous land by fossil fuel corporations.

“The Murray-Darling is so important because everyone relies on water. We all drink water, and the water is taken by greed,” said Uncle Bruce, who is a Muruwari and Budjiti activist and founder of the Water for Rivers campaign.

The climate rally was called by the Australian Student Environment Network, alongside Workers for Climate Action and Uni Students for Climate Justice, demanding green jobs and climate justice.

Photography by Aman Kapoor

ASEN Convenor Ruby Pandolfi criticised the government’s response to the climate crisis, saying: “Instead of adequately funding the public sector and taking action on climate change, the government has increased funding to the fossil fuel industry, destroying Indigenous land in the process and further intensifying the climate crisis.”

In particular, a growing focus of the climate movement is the controversial Narrabri coal seam gas project, commissioned by mining giant Santos. Ian Brown, from Gamilaraay Next Generation, described the effect of the Santos project on Gamilaraay land.

“I can’t express how it makes me feel knowing what I know about the Narrabri gas mine and the project that’s coming up,” said Brown. “All of that destruction and the taking and raping of our land is contributing to us having a lack of a future.”

As the protesters began to march down Elizabeth Street towards Belmore Park, spirited chants of “keep the planet green and clean, send the bosses to the guillotine” were heard in the streets. 

The march occupied two intersections, frustrating the small police presence as they attempted to contain the rally.