More counter rallies expected to occur along Convoy's trip
A MIXED crowd gathered at Emu Park when the Stop Adani Convoy arrived on Wednesday evening with some unexpected guests joining the convoy's Lantern Parade for the Reef.
As an estimated 600 convoy members and anti-Adani local supporters converged on Bell Park, so to did around 250 members of a counter rally wielding signs which read: "#StartAdani - Qld coal powering Australian economy."
Reports stated both sides protested peacefully, apart from some minor verbal heckling, as four police cars kept an eye on the event.
Two local businessmen Jason Thomasson from JRT group and Jack Trenaman from SMW group were among those who organised the counter rally.
The pair collectively employ about 500 Central Queenslanders in the infrastructure and mining sector.
They said they attended, and encouraged their workers to attend, to try and reason with the convoy by showing them the importance of coal locally, and for Australian society.
"We wanted to show them that we're here," Mr Thomasson said.
"A large portion of the Yeppoon and Emu Park population work in the coal industry, and they bring that money back into the community. These towns would suffer without the industry."
Mr Trenaman said he introduced himself to multiple rally attendants and was surprised to find that many of them understood his plight following discussions with them.
He believed the convoy would encounter more counter rallies in Mackay and Airlie Beach.
"There is a higher percentage of coal workers in those communities than there is here," he said.
Mr Thomasson and Mr Trenaman will head to Clermont for another counter rally against the convoy.
Mr Thomasson assured that they "100 per cent don't want conflict."
A pro-mining rally has been organised in Mackay by the Resources Industry Network called "For the Future of our Region" tomorrow, the same day the convoy will pass through Mackay en route to Clermont.
RIN director Mick Crowe hoped the rally would counter the rhetoric coming from the likes of the anti-mining camp, but did not suggest the rally was in direct opposition to the convoy.
"We are gravely concerned about the future of the mining industry and 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Mackay region if new coal mines are not developed," Mr Crowe said.
"Queensland has fallen to number 12 on the Fraser Institute's survey of attractive places to invest and that is a deep concern for us.
"That's why we have called this rally. There is a groundswell of support in regional Queensland for the event. People want to voice their position when it comes to the future of the regions."
Isaac Regional Mayor Anne Baker requested that the parties for and against the Adani mine have a round table meeting today before the convoy entered Clermont.
Convoy representatives have confirmed they will attend and Mr Thomasson confirmed representatives from the counter rally will also attend.