Lock the Gate today slammed the Queensland government’s support of the proposed expansion of the Acland coal mine.
“This move is a slap in the face for rural communities living near mine who were promised before the last election that there would be no expansion,” said Lock the Gate’s Darling Downs Coordinator Shaun Murray.
“It appears that the current government is no better than the previous government and is prepared to sacrifice the health of rural communities and more good agricultural land in the Darling Downs, all for a quick buck.
This proposed coal expansion is also a concern for people living in Brisbane, as it would mean millions of tonnes of additional coal moving through Brisbane, and more particulate pollution.
Local communities living near the mine were also outraged by the announcement. Peter Faulkner, president of the Oakley Coal Action Alliance said: “I’m sickened that the LNP has sold out our community for this open cut coal mine proposal. I know of at least three occasions since the last election where Jeff Seeney has met to do back room deals with New Hope Coal at Acland, but he still won't meet with us. They’ve reneged on their promise, and are in bed with the mining industry.
"As far as we are concerned, the impact threat is not reduced but will remain extant and in some cases worsened. In fact, as long as New Hope hold their Mineral Development Licence they will just continue to submit expansion proposals until they will eventually cover the original Stage 3 project area as they had planned back in 2007.
"Those living near the mine, in Jondaryan and Acland, have suffered enough already. The open cut mine has destroyed our local economy - we have 10 years of data to prove it - and has divided the community.
"The Queensland government seems to only answer to mining corporations and does not care or want to know about community impacts. We are being sacrificed for a quick mining dollar. This entire rush for resources at the expense of regional communities is absolutely disgusting.”
Spokesperson for Stop Brisbane Coal Trains, John Gordon also vowed to fight the proposed expansion.
“Communities near the mine are already choking on coal dust from this mine. Further expansion of this irresponsible project will also mean more coal moving through Brisbane, and greater health impacts on people living along the coal corridor. We won’t accept more particulate pollution in Brisbane and we will fight this project every step of the way.”
For further comment, please contact:
Shaun Murray, Lock the Gate Darling Downs coordinator: 0439 960 971
Peter Faulkner, Oakley Coal Action Alliance president: 0409 912 801