Queenslanders are being urged to help defend prime agricultural land from invasive coal mining, with the launch of a petition calling on the State Government to reject New Acland Stage 3.
At the same time, mine proponent New Hope has recently reneged on a promise to move its massive coal dump and rail load-out facility from the township of Jondaryan, with the Coordinator General now assessing a submission for the coal dump to remain at the site for another five years.
The local community has been concerned about the dust, noise and traffic from the dump for many years. Queenslanders have a chance to make submissions in response to New Hope’s broken promise until July 21.
Oakey Coal Action Alliance spokesperson Paul King said Oakey’s economy would be devastated should New Acland Stage 3 be allowed to go ahead.
“This coal mine expansion poses an unacceptable threat to the underground water resources relied upon by farmers and their families in the Acland area,” he said.
“Farmers’ water allocations have already been cut by up to 50 per cent, yet the proposed expansion is slated to produce a further drawdown of 900 million litres a year from surrounding aquifers.
“Businesses in Oakey and surrounds rely on these farms to keep going - if the farms go, so will the local economy.
“What’s more, the farming land around Oakey is classed in the top 1.5 per cent in Queensland. It is madness that it should be destroyed for the sake of a temporary coal mine.”
Jondaryan local Glennis Hammond said the local community was devastated to learn of New Acland Coal’s backflip over its coal stockpile.
“New Hope’s proposal to leave the coal dump at Jondaryan was considered unacceptable in 2012 and has not been subject to environmental impact assessment as part of the Stage 3 expansion,” she said.
“The people of Jondaryan have already suffered enough due to the ever present dust from the coal dumps and coal carrying trains that pass through the town. Our health shouldn’t be sacrificed by New Hope coal.
“We are urging our fellow Queenslanders to support us in this fight against the dishonest New Hope Group.”