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Clean Air Queensland welcomes government review of coal dust, with caveats

Yet another review of uncovered coal trains through Brisbane is unnecessary as the health and environmental impacts are already known, says Clean Air Queensland (CAQ).

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said this week that she and Science Minister Leeanne Enoch would work to progress a motion adopted at the ALP state conference supporting “an independent, scientific review” of measures to mitigate the effects of coal dust. (See p.54; 7.76)

CAQ spokesperson, Michael Kane said while the group was pleased that Minister Trad’s announcement signalled the State Government was prepared to investigate coal pollution, he questioned the value of yet another review.

“The World Health Organisation and any number of reviews, studies and inquiries have found that particulate pollution like coal dust is carcinogenic as did a recent Australian Senate Inquiry which unequivocally recommended that coal trains should be covered without delay,” he said.

“It is critical that the Queensland Government move to cover trains now that the controversial expansion of the Acland coal mine may be approved which may result in many extra millions of tonnes of uncovered coal winding its way past our homes, schools and work places.”

Currently, nine million tonnes of uncovered coal is transported by freight train through 21 Brisbane suburbs, Ipswich and Toowoomba to the port of Brisbane making this corridor the most densely populated coal transport hub in Australia.

Routes for a proposed new inland rail system between Melbourne and Brisbane would further exacerbate pollution.

“The State Government has allowed the coal industry to hide behind cherry-picked results from industry-funded studies for too long,” he said.

“There is no safe level of exposure to coal dust and it’s urgent that coal wagons be covered as more than 40,000 children attend schools or day-care within one kilometre of the south-east Queensland coal corridor.

“Every Queensland business, industry and person is required to cover loads during transport and it’s time to cancel the coal industries’ license to pollute.”

People can donate to the Acland mine fighting fund here.

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