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Coal mining impacts demand action

The damage caused by coal mining to farming communities, as highlighted by the SBS 'Insight' program last night, should lead to urgent action by state and federal governments, said Lock the Gate Alliance.

"Last night farmers from the Darling Downs told devastating stories of a town destroyed, communities torn apart, water supplies dwindling and farmland ruined by open-cut coal mining at Acland" said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.

"It's long past time for action.  Rural families and agricultural businesses are being hurt by a coal mining industry that is out of control.
"Earlier this week we lodged a formal complaint with the Qld Crime and Corruption Commission about the former Newman Governments policy reversal on the Acland mine expansion, after $950,000 in political donations from the mine proponent.

"Last night on Insight, farmer Grant Wieck explained that he invested $3 million in farm upgrades after the Newman Government first promised to oppose the Acland expansion, only to see that promise over-turned and his business and water supplies put at risk.

"Coal mining is not only damaging our food-bowls on the Darling Downs and the Liverpool Plains, but it's also damaging our democratic processes.
 "The Qld Government is due to make a decision on the Acland Stage 3 expansion project by Friday this week. 

"We're calling on them to delay that decision until they have fully implemented their promises to scrutinise the impacts on local communities and to hold an inquiry into links between political donations and approvals.

"We're also calling on the Federal Government to ditch their ill-considered idea to remove the rights of community groups to challenge Federal coal mine approvals in the courts.

"The Federal Government should be stepping in to stop the proposed Shenhua coal mine and the Acland Stage 3 expansion on rich food-growing land, instead of disenfranchising affected communities and ripping away the few legal rights they have left" he said.

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