The Southern Downs Regional Council has become Queensland’s second Council to oppose mining that would adversely impact the area’s tourism, rural lifestyle or agricultural production.
Cr Jamie Mackenzie said the council voted yesterday “to universally oppose coal seam gas, oil and coal mining in its prime tourist, rural lifestyle and productive agricultural areas”.
The Southern Downs joins the Scenic Rim Regional Council that voted in 2012 to severely restrict inappropriate mining.
“We are taking the message to the State Government on behalf of the region that alarm bells are ringing about the potential impacts of resource sector development on the ‘right to farm’, slippage, amenity, the road and rail network, fragile underground water supplies and on the environment,” Cr Mackenzie said in a statement.
“In my view, there needs to be a balance between economic development and preserving the environment.”
Clean Air Queensland Coordinator, Michael Kane said the SDRC’s decision should send a strong message to voters and candidates at Saturday’s election.
“People are sick of being told by State politicians that they have to put up with mining developments in their communities,” Mr Kane said.
“This is an historic decision by the council to protect residents from the health impacts, noise pollution and invasive nature of the coal and coal seam gas industry.
“Voters should seek out candidates on Saturday who will look after their communities’ best interests, not those of mining company executives or other big business.”
Mr Kane said there were at least nine exploration leases currently active at the Downs and he called on the neighbouring shires of Toowoomba, Western Downs and Goondiwindi to follow suit.
Cr Mackenzie – a local beef cattle producer and self-employed town planning - said it was “almost impossible” that mining could co-exist with agriculture and urban centres on the Southern Downs.
“The Southern Downs’ clean air, fabulous vistas and top quality agricultural land makes it prime tourist country, a great place to live and has important agricultural qualities so I am not sure how a coal mine can be compatible,” he said.
The Council also resolved to halt any permits for resource sector development on its road reserves and other lands it controls.”