Lock the Gate has called on Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, to end the deceit after he announced, yesterday his support for three rail lines connecting the coal mines in the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point, reversing his promise of June 2012 to limit rail developments to two lines.
"Jeff Seeney promised only two lines in June 2012 in response to widespread concern about the impact of multiple rail proposals on grazing properties, wildlife and horticulture throughout Central Queensland," said Ellie Smith, Central Queensland Coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.
However yesterday he said that the region was best serviced by one line operated by Aurizon/GVK, and two operated by Indian mining giant Adani.
Of particular concern to landholders has been the impact of the rail lines on flood patterns in Central Queensland, if proposed rail lines are allowed to be built on known floodplains.
This latest backflip comes after Seeney botched the process earlier this year for declaring a State Development Area, which would give the government the option to force the sale of properties for rail developments.
The Queensland government wrote to residents of the rural towns of Collinsville and Merinda stating their homes could be bought for coal rail developments. The government was forced into an embarrassing backdown but is yet to make good on any of their promises.
Seeney acknowledged yesterday that the SDA would be minimised to reduce impacts on landholders, but is yet to give local communities certainty by issuing new maps. The proposed SDA still covers over 1.8 million hectares and takes in all five potental rail routes.
"Seeney is missing the point with this latest announcement. The government already has the power to acquire properties to build rail lines. The SDA is simply unnecessary and should be withdrawn entirely.
"Yet again we are seeing Jeff Seeney giving mining companies whatever they ask for, no matter what the impacts on local farmers and residents," said Ms Smith.
"The Queensland government is clearly rushing through the Galilee Basin coal developments without proper process and without consideration for the lives and businesses that will be damaged as a result."
Community calls for State Development Area to be scrapped
21st May 2014
Landholders and residents affected by the draft Galilee Basin State Development Area (SDA) in Central Queensland are calling for the proposal to be scrapped.
In a first for community action to protect land from mining infrastructure, a formal Landholders’ Resolution to reject the SDA has been signed by more than half of the affected landholders and addressed to Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Jeff Seeney.
The SDA extends across 1.8 million hectares from Alpha to Bowen and if declared, would give the government the power to compulsory acquire land to build rail lines from proposed Galilee Basin coal mines to the controversial Abbot Point Coal Terminal on the Great Barrier Reef.
“The SDA is a massive land grab by the Queensland government on behalf of the big coal mining companies, many of which are foreign owned,” said Ellie Smith, Central Queensland Coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.
“Uncertainty about future land use within the SDA will drive down land prices and damage agricultural productivity.
The proposal has created controversy and confusion in rural towns of Collinsville and Merinda over whether or not they are within the SDA boundaries.
“We’re aren’t convinced that Seeney’s commitments to exclude towns from the SDA will protect our homes from compulsory acquisition,” says Collinsville homeowner Vicky May.
“It's just not fair that they can take away our first home that we have worked so hardfor” said Ms May.
“What’s worse is that the SDA is simply unnecessary. There are existing provisions in the legislation that allow for compulsory acquisition to build rail lines. This is a draconian scheme that rides roughshod over the people of Queensland,” said Ms Smith.
“The impacted communities have spoken. Minister Seeney needs to scrap this unfair SDA, which gives special treatment to the mining industry at the expense of the agricultural industry and Queensland communities”.
The Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning is currently considering public comment on the draft SDA.
Supported by 48 Landholders representing 61 properties within the State Development Area. This equates to approximately half the land area within the SDA (ecluding land owned by coal companies).
The resolution is also supported by half the households in Merinda and residents of Collinsville (two urban areas within the SDA).
Withdraw the Galilee Basin State Development Area
We are concerned about the process for declaring the proposed Galilee Basin State Development Area (the SDA). The SDA covers 18,000km2 of central Queensland and will fast track the development of railway lines to transport coal from the Galilee Basin mines to the Abbot Point coal terminal. If declared the State Development Area will allow the QLD Government to compulsorily acquire properties to build coal rail lines. The SDA takes away landholder rights in favour of mining and rail companies, decreases property values and restricts landholder options in relation to their land. The SDA has been proposed without due care in the preparation of maps of proposed precincts causing confusion in the community and the government may change the proposed precincts at any time without a need for further consultation.
We reject the draft Galilee Basin State Development Area and call for its immediate withdrawal.