Brisbane Council candidates congratulated on coal train opposition

Published: March 27, 2020

All surveyed Brisbane City Council candidates have confirmed they oppose an increase in coal train movements through the city.

Three out of four existing councillors questioned even said coal trains should not be travelling through the city at all - Nicole Johnston (independent for Tennyson), Jonathon Sri (Greens for The Gabba), Lisa Atwood (LNP for Doboy Ward).

Clean Air Queensland approached 12 candidates in the wards of Doboy, Tennyson, The Gabba, and Wynnum-Many, where coal trains regularly travel through on their way to the Port of Brisbane. 

Candidates were specifically asked whether they oppose a doubling of coal train movements, to which all responded yes. 

The Queensland Palaszczuk Government is assessing a planned expansion of New Hope Group’s New Acland coal mine which, if approved, could lead to a near doubling of coal train movements through Brisbane suburbs.

CAQ spokesperson Paul Stephenson said it was vital that candidates’ opposition be known prior to the council election. 

“We were extremely pleased that so many candidates in suburbs hard-hit by coal train movements opposed any increase,” he said.

“We hope that once candidates are elected, they remember their opposition, and will advocate with other levels of government over this important health issues.

"Coal dust is a toxic form of air pollution which negatively impacts health through increased risk of asthma, respiratory illnesses, heart attack and death.

"The communities of inner-city Brisbane are suffering the negative health effects of a dirty polluting industry while the owners of the project profit." 

Existing approvals at the New Acland coal mine allow for up to 4.8 million tonnes per annum of coal to be mined, while the proposed new expansion of the mine would increase this figure to 7.5mtpa.

“It is indefensible to expand the use of coal trains through inner-city Brisbane when we know that this increased air pollution will damage peoples’ health and threaten the lives of the elderly, sick and vulnerable.

Mr Stephenson pointed to examples where a local council in the USA had acted decisively to stop coal trains from passing through their inner-city jurisdictions.

"It is well within the powers of the council to act on this issue. Councilors have a clear political and moral imperative to ensure the protection of their local communities' lives and wellbeing."

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