Right across Australia, the well-being of communities is being put at risk by invasive coal mining, coal seam gas and fracking.
New and expanding coal mines and unconventional gas operations are encroaching on towns, villages and agricultural lands, harming quality of life, devaluing properties, destroying livelihoods and dividing communities.
Pollution of air and water is leading to serious illnesses and poor health outcomes. Other industries such as agriculture and tourism face labour shortages and rising costs whilst losing land and assets to mining. The natural and rural landscapes that are known and loved by local communities are being changed forever by the mining expansion.
The case studies below outline some of the difficulties currently faced by local communities across the country...
Tara, Qld - The Tara residential estate in south-west Queensland has been surrounded by a coal seam gas production field, with more than 20 families, including children, experiencing chronic health problems, including nosebleeds, skin rashes and nausea.
Borroloola, NT - This region has one of the richest shale gas deposits in the NT and fracking exploration is occurring in the headwaters of the McArthur River within the Beetaloo Basin and further south in the McArthur Basin. Clan groups in Borroloola and the South West Gulf of Carpenteria are working together to protect country from fracking.
Hunter Valley, NSW - Data from around the world shows that coal mining communities have higher rates of mortality from lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. In the Hunter, airborne dust levels frequently exceed national health standards and there has been a 50% jump in dust emissions from coal over five years. The Hunter Region is one of Australia’s oldest wine producing areas, is internationally renowned as Australia's horse breeding capital, and is a prime tourism location, but it faces the challenge of declining coal markets, even while new mining projects further intensify air pollution and lost land and water.
Acland, Qld - Acland, a small town 35km west of Toowoomba, became a ghost town virtually overnight when a coal company moved in and purchased 300 properties to make way for mining - dismantling houses or leaving them to decay. Other towns and villages across the country now face a similar fate - Camberwell, Bulga and Wollar.
Maningrida, NT - Hunting and fishing still constitute a significant dietary source for people living in Maningrida, situated on the Arnhem Land coast of the Northern Territory. The Traditional Owners are very concerned that mining will threaten this food source which will cause physical and cultural damage to their people.