The event coincides with today’s announcement by Minister Stirling Hinchliffe of the formation of an independent panel to review land access laws for mining and CSG companies.
“Minister Hinchliffe has trumped Campbell Newman on this issue, but they don’t go far enough” said Drew Hutton from Friends of the Earth.
“The only real position worth a pitch of salt is Katter and the Greens on this issue. Land owners near Alpha, Qld are traditional LNP voters. They are opposed to the mine and want support from the LNP to protect their properties. Campbell Newman's Resources and Energy Strategy states the LNP will rebuild the social licence of the mining industry by ‘Respecting private landholders’ and making arrangements appropriate to landholders in developing resources and energy projects’”.
“We want to know whose side the LNP are on, the side of big dirty coal mines, or Queensland farmers” said Mr Hutton.
Clive Palmer's visit to Rockhampton, supported by LNP's Bruce Young is to garner support from business and promote LNP policy in Rockhampton.
Landowners from Alpha have come to meet Palmer to express their anger over the proposed Galilee Coal mine.
“It takes a lot for a grazier to travel 500km to wave a placard at a business man. They are calling for the protection of Nature Refuges and their farms from coal mining and coal seam gas”.
The Galilee basin mine threatens the livelihoods of graziers in the electorate of Gregory, and those in the mine rail corridor and port area.
“Landowners in Western Australia have the right to say no to mining and gas companies, why not in Queensland?”
“We are not saying farmers should get the final say on land use, or that they own the resource below the ground. But farmers should get equal footing at the table, no more no less”, said Hutton.
“This story is nothing new but nothing is changing. Both the big parties disregard the hard sweat and tears Queensland farmers put into the land with cheap statements, and committees that do nothing”.
Australia's coal and gas economic bubble goes from bad to worse. Clive Palmer's Galilee Coal will destroy a Queensland Nature Refuge, paving the way for Queensland's Nature Refuges to be mined.
“We are traditional graziers of Western Queensland. We purchased Bimblebox Nature Refuge for the good of the nation, and for the good of the local area”, said Paola Cassoni.
“The Bimblebox property keeps the surrounding properties alive. The water is good and the stock are healthy”.
The 8,000 ha Bimblebox property was recognised 10 years ago by both the Federal and State governments as an excellent example of uncleared woodland in the Desert Uplands Bio-region, Western Central Queensland. The Federal Government contributed over $300,000 towards the purchase of the property on the condition that it was preserved in perpetuity.
The State government declared the Bimblebox Nature Refuge to protect this intact natural ecosystem. It is home to rare and endangered species and is the last remaining ecosystem of its type in the world.
“Clive Palmer supports the LNP, and the LNP are supposed to be the party for us country folk, but what are they doing.” questioned Cassoni.
“Vaughan Johnson is the LNP man for Alpha. This has been Nationals territory for a long time, but Johnson has not contacted us locals on this matter. He was quoted publicly saying ‘we can’t have mining in the Golden Triangle but mining is okay up Alpha way’”.
Bimblebox Nature Refuge and 4000 ha of its trees will be cleared to make way for a massive open cut mine.
Currently there are no laws in Queensland to protect Nature Refuges from mining and coal seam gas development.
Derec Davies, Friends of the Earth mob 0421 835 587