The university was set to host the Coal Operators Conference on February 12-14 but yesterday announced, the event is “deferred as part of a short-term refocusing of university priorities”
“While this conference provides a valuable forum for sharing best practice and innovation in safety and environmental performance for the mining sector, the university has considered the immediate needs of its communities at this time and adjusted its priorities accordingly,” UoW states.
The university has hosted the annual event since 1998, and also describes itself as “a major provider of research outcomes to the Australian minerals industry.” The now diversified economy of the Illawarra region was heavily dependent on local coal mines for over a century
This year’s conference is vehemently opposed by the local Illawarra Climate Justice Alliance, which had scheduled a protest on the university campus for February 13.
The UoW branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has also called on VC Paul Wellings to, “step forward, as other Australian vice chancellors have done, to declare that we are indeed facing a climate emergency, that urgent and concerted national action is required, and that UOW will lead the way in our local community by committing to zero net emissions by 2030.”