Three members of Sutherland Climate Action Network were among 67 people arrested in a protest to “break free from fossil fuels” in Newcastle on Sunday.
Murray Scott of Heathcote, Colin Ryan of Kirrawee and Bill Ryan of Caringbah were among a group of 70 who stopped coal trains from reaching Newcastle, the world's largest coal port.
The protesters were charged with interfering and remaining on train line and will appear in Newcastle Court on June 9.
Network convener Jonathan Doig said 13 other members of Sutherland Climate Action Network were also part of the protest by an 2000 people, in which a flotilla of 200 kayaks also blocked coal ships.
Mr Doig said Newcastle port was closed for the day, preventing coal exports and saving nearly 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
This was the equivalent of taking nearly a quarter of a million cars off the road for a year.
”The Barrier Reef is dying before our eyes while the government looks the other way,” he said.
“At least Labor has a real climate plan, but both old parties are ignoring coal.
“Coal is the number one cause of climate change.
“We have to shift to renewable energy now to save the reef and the planet.”
Bill Ryan, 94 and a Kokoda veteran, has been involved in many similar protests.
“My generation fought to save Australia and make it the wonderful country it is today, and many of my mates did not return,” he said.
“Today we are faced with a bigger fight, but this time the enemy is within.”
“The fossil fuel industry has made a lot of money and caused a lot of damage to places like the Hunter Valley.”