About 50 protesters have gathered outside an inner Brisbane hotel to highlight their concerns about the coal industry.
Brisbane is hosting a Galilee Basin coal conference to discuss new mining ventures in the central Queensland inland.
Environmental group Greenpeace says the plan to open up the area will add to greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace says new coal export terminals to service the mines will also threaten the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Spokeswoman Louise Matthieson says the reef is in jeopardy.
"We need to do more to protect the Great Barrier Reef and slow down this rampant coal mining development," she said.
Among the protesters in Brisbane was Galilee Basin grazier Paola Cassoni, who has a property north of Alpha.
"You are destroying the cattle industry in the Galilee Basin," she said.
Michael Roche from the Queensland Resources Council today acknowledged the green lobby's success in the public relations war on coal mining.
"They're well resourced and perhaps we have taken them too far for granted," he said.
Mr Roche says the industry faces a number of immediate challenges including the high cost of production.
Greenpeace is calling on policy makers to do more to move away from coal-fired power and further develop renewable energy sources.