State Government failing to protect communities from coal dust

Published: August 23, 2013

The Lock the Gate Alliance and the Oakey Coal Action Alliance have today welcomed the report of the Senate inquiry into the Impacts on health of air quality in Australia, calling on the Queensland Government to immediately implement the recommendations to protect community health.

“This Senate Inquiry again highlights that coal dust pollution is a serious health concern and one that should be legislated upon immediately,” said Oakey Coal Action Alliance spokesperson Pete Faulkner said today.

“This report vindicates what we have been asking for Acland, Oakey and Jondaryan communities for years. Currently guidelines for monitoring small particle pollution are poor and local communities are suffering the health impacts of coal mining,” said Mr Faulkner.

Lock the Gate Queensland Campaign Coordinator Hannah Aulby agreed, “Covering coal train wagons, introducing buffer zones around residential areas, improving health standards, and including health impact assessments as part of all project approvals are all common sense practices that any government serious about protecting community health would act upon.

“Instead the Queensland Government and Minister Powell have said they will only consider the recommendations, and will not make any commitments until their inadequate industry funded monitoring program is complete,” Ms Aulby said.

“Valuing methodologically flawed industry monitoring before recommendations of a Senate Inquiry and air quality experts just shows that the Queensland Government is acting in the interest of coal companies, and not on behalf of Queenslanders.

“To show the community that the Queensland Government can be trusted to protect our health, Minister Powell must immediately accept and implement the Inquiry’s recommendations.

“In the absence of basic state government protection, we call on the Federal Government to intervene. Clean air is a national issue and coal-affected communities need these recommendations acted upon,” concluded Ms Aulby.

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