Passionate community representatives from across regional Queensland have converged on the Bunya Mountains for a weekend of strategy and planning, determined to protect farmland and communities from coal and gas mining.
About two dozen community leaders took part in a variety of different workshops, covering issues such as water testing, groundwater protection, and economic analysis.
The groups agreed that regional planning laws had failed to protect Queensland's best farmland or community living areas from mining and gas, and that change was urgently needed.
John Dalton from Kingaroy, President of Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group, said “This weekend has confirmed Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group view that we need a stronger regional planning act to weed out resource proposals that are clearly not in the community's best interests.
Glen Beasley from Cameby Concerned Citizens at Chinchilla said “Farmers like myself are dealing with a toxic CSG waste dump right next door to priority agricultural land just 50m from a creek in the headwaters of the Murray Darling.
“Projects like this shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and we’re excited to join up with other communities who are determined to stop inappropriate projects like this."
Gemma Cronin, a Butchulla custodian from the Wide Bay Burnett said “Our recent success in driving gas company Blue Energy out of the Wide Bay Burnett region is a perfect example of how Aboriginal custodians working together with farmers and business people can protect country.
“We have no doubt that educating and empowering communities about their right to free and informed decision making will help them replicate our success.”
Ellie Smith from Lock the Gate Alliance said “It is wonderful to see so many empowered communities determined to achieve stronger regional planning laws to protect food-producing lands and key residential areas.
“Mining and gas is harming the life systems that Queenslanders depend on, and communities this weekend made it clear they will not rest until our politicians listen to regional people”
Ann Gardiner from Cooran Earth Rights on the Sunshine Coast hinterland said “Our community has fought off a coal mining exploration permit, and now we want permanent protection.
“We know that renewable energy is the best path for our communities, and we shouldn’t be risking our special places for unnecessary coal and gas mining”