With his thumbs pointing almost permanently skywards, the copyrighted mascot Hector the Lump of Coal wants to talk to kids about the arts, dental hygiene, bullying, sun safety and pretty much anything else the PR people at one of the world’s biggest coal export facilities can think of.
In one segment of his own mini-TV series, Hector’s sidekick presenter tells kids* how to save energy at home to “save the environment” and how you shouldn’t leave the tap running when you’re cleaning your teeth because “water is precious.”
His TV slots are screened on the popular Seven free-to-air Australian television network in the Mackay region of Queensland where kids have been served The Hector Show sandwiched between segments of Saturday Disney.
There is not a sliver of irony or sarcasm in sight but, then again, this is the state of Queensland that — according to its Premier Campbell Newman — is “in the coal business.”
Hector is the property of Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) which last year enabled the export of more than 60 million tonnes of coal used for energy and making steel.
DBCT is one of two facilities at Hay Point, one of the world’s biggest coal ports. Coal combustion, as if this needs pointing out, is the world’s biggest single contributor to climate change.
Not only did the state export 192 million tonnes of coal last year, but it has been revealed that a coal company employee is actually writing the environment policy for Newman’s Liberal National party.
Perhaps this is why Hector sports a permanent grin on his Facebook page where he is pictured at community events, sports games, schools, libraries and inside any building with a door wide enough to fit his considerable girth. It seems wherever there are children and families, there's a grinning six foot lump of coal in a high-visibility vest.