Brian Linforth could not tell media commentator, Alan Jones on air this morning why he is trying to stop the Colton open-cut mine near Maryborough.
Brian is terminally ill; he was taken to hospital yesterday and was unable to take Mr Jones’s call. He would like to spend his dying days in the quiet enjoyment of his home and family; instead he is campaigning against the giant mining company, New Hope Coal and the Queensland Government.
Vicki Perrin, spokesperson for Coal Free Wide Bay Burnett, spoke to Mr Jones on Brian’s behalf. Her group is one of many raising money to try to stop the proposed mine being built at Aldershot, just two kilometres from Brian’s home and seven kilometres from the Maryborough Base Hospital.
“It’s just disgusting that Brian and individuals and communities are forced to fight developments like this,” she said. “It’s so unfair that our complaints are falling on deaf ears; the politicians should be ashamed of themselves.”
There are exploration licences all over the Wide Bay Burnett region. The Colton coal mine is owned by New Hope Coal, who donated $700,000 to the Qld Government in the lead-up to the last election.
Mr Jones noted that the government, in proposed legislation, is trying to ban individuals from having lawyers present at any official negotiations.
“The Newman Government is full of bully-boys and they just don’t care what happens to people like Brian,” he said. “The whole approvals process is flawed and Newman and Seeney keep blaming the Auditor-General.”
He said New Hope wanted to allow untreated mine water to be discharged directly into the Mary River, only 15 kilometres upstream of the river mouth and the Fraser Coast.
Brian is president of the Aldershot & District Against Mining (AADAM). He said on his fund-raising site: “My health is in serious decline and I’m worried that the increased risk of coal dust and toxic chemicals that will fall on my roof and into our drinking water tanks will mean I won’t be able to continue living at my home.
“We’ve fought the mine for more than four tough years and that’s taken its toll on my health and quality of life in my retirement years.
“The State Government has bent over backwards to allow the mining company amendments and extensions of time to get their application through and a draft environmental assessment was approved in September.
“We have had great difficulty getting expert representation for our Land Court case because so many consultants are contracted to the mining companies and have conflicts of interests.
“The importance of this issue to me is paramount and I feel the time, energy and stress we have endured should not be imposed on any Queenslander, particularly not the elderly.”
The 1,043 residents in his village will be forced to breathe dangerous coal dust. They are entirely dependent on rainwater tanks for their drinking water. If this mine goes ahead, that water will be at risk of serious contamination from the toxic chemicals in coal dust.