Land court judgement on Colton coal: laws not strong enough to protect communities, water resources

Published: November 17, 2016

The Land Court judgement handed down today on the proposed Colton open-cut coal mine, near Maryborough, has highlighted again that the current legal structure in Queensland is too weak to protect communities under threat from mining.

The Land Court challenge by the Aldershot and District Against Mining Group focused on the impacts of the coal mine on the health and wellbeing of the people in Aldershot, who live just 2km from the proposed mine site, and also challenged the discharge of untreated waste water from the mine into the Mary River system, upstream of the Great Sandy Strait.

Vicki Perrin, from Wide Bay Burnett Protection Alliance said "The judgement by the Land Court to allow the mine to proceed largely unchanged is incredibly disappointing for the people of Aldershot, who have banded together because of their grave concerns about the impacts of this mine on their local community.

“Unfortunately, this judgement shows that the laws in Queensland are not strong enough to protect people and communities from the negative impacts of mining.

“The Colton open-cut coal mine will be located just 2km from the town of Aldershot, which is home to 1,042 people.

“It is outrageous that a whole community of people can be sacrificed for a coal mine that puts their health at risk from dangerous coal dust particles in the air, and from airborne dust contaminating the tank water which they all rely on for drinking.

“It is also very disturbing that the concerns about the Colton mine being allowed to dump untreated waste water into the iconic Mary River system have not been addressed by this judgement.

“The people of Queensland don’t accept the extraordinary tourist attractions of Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Strait becoming a dumping ground for the mining industry, but it seems our mining laws are too weak and biased to prevent even that from happening.

“The only change to mine operations from the court case are some changes to noise constraints on the mine, which are important for community well-being but which don’t seem to go far enough.

“This is a wake-up call for Queensland – mining laws are so weak that the health of people and communities and the future of our international tourism icons is being sacrificed.

“We’re calling for a re-write of the laws, so that communities are finally given a fair go and so that future decisions are required to put Queenslanders first before greedy mining giants” she said.

Aldershot and District Against Mining is a member group of the Wide Bay Burnett Protection Alliance. They were not able to be in court today, due to the ill health of their President.

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