A substantial protest group marched down Sturt Street on Saturday over a proposed Queensland coal mine in a fight that has been likened to a proxy war between those for and against Australia's coal industry.
Organiser Alice Barnes, who ran as a Greens candidate in federal and state elections, blasted the Turnbull government for supporting Indian company Adani’s plan to build Australia’s biggest coal mine at Carmichael, which is in central Queensland inland of Mackay.
Many environmentalists, including those who protested on Saturday, argue pollution from the mine and its export facility could spell disaster for the Great Barrier Reef.
Ms Barnes claimed more than 100 people took part in the rally.
"As a history teacher, I think that losing the Great Barrier Reef would be about the worst legacy we could possibly leave, and at this rate we will probably have no one to leave it to,” she said.
"Not only would this project kill what's left of the reef, with it goes more than 70,000 jobs that depend on the tourism it brings.
“And all to deliver merely 10,000 jobs, if that, in a dying industry. It's an appalling idea.
“Every sensible Australian knows the Carmichael coal mine cannot be built.”
But many in Queensland support the move as they say it would create a regional jobs boon, including Mackay’s mayor Greg Williamson.
This view is shared by the federal and Queensland governments.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has previously said: "My government has worked with Adani to ensure the project went through a rigorous and comprehensive assessment process for the mine, rail and port development.”