Thursday, May 25, 2017

DERM rejects coalmine’s Environmental Management Plan – Congratulations to Aldershot Community

Posted by Jim on September 30, 2010

The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management [DERM] has rejected an application for an open-cut coal mine a mere 2-3 kilometres from the township of Aldershot and just outside the Maryborough City Boundary.  A DERM spokesperson is reported to have said that the main grounds for rejection of Northern Energy Corporation’s application and Environmental Management Plan were soil characteristics, groundwater and potential impacts to waterways.

This represents a major win for the Aldershot community, which has campaigned long and hard against the mine.

We congratulate the Aldershot community in its steadfast and savvy campaign against the Colton Coal Mine, an open cut mine that was to be dug on the community’s doorstep.

Without Aldershot and District against Mining’s [AADAM] campaign, Northern Energy Corporation’s plans for an extensive mine outside Aldershot and Maryborough might have slipped under the radar and been approved by the State Government.

They did not go it alone, though, and the Wide Bay Conservation Council is also to be congratulated in standing shoulder to shoulder with the community.

The same cannot be said for local politicians, none of whom openly opposed the mine, with the exception of a single Fraser Coast Regional Councillor. The only party that consistently fought against the mine on public health and environmental grounds was The Greens.

The coalmining issue in our region is not dead, however, and The Greens have already responded to the Tiaro Coal proposals to establish open-cut mines in the Munna Creek area in the Gympie Times.

The whole question of mines along the Mary River and its basin needs to be re-evaluated by the Bligh Labor Government before any more of the mining companies seek to exploit the Maryborough Coal Basin.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 30 September 2010

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Greens seek facts and action on Gympie’s Southside Waste Management Facility

Posted by Jim on

The Greens’ spokesperson for the Wide Bay federal electorate has written to the Chairman of the Gympie Regional Council’s Works & Service Committee requesting specific information on the nature of liquid waste, its storage and removal at Gympie’s Southside Waste Management Facility.

In April 2010, the Greens’ Senate candidate Libby Connors raised the issue of dying animals at an adjacent property and it has not been resolved.

According to the Council’s description of this waste facility, the Southside tip does not accept oil or liquid waste.  However, tankers and sullage trucks have been frequently been observed recently, apparently pumping liquid material from a ground tank on this facility, which is not supposed to accept liquid waste at all.

The Greens are concerned both about the environmental impacts of the tip and for the health of neighbours and their animals.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 30 September 2010

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Second coalmine to threaten Mary River

Posted by Jim on September 27, 2010

The announcement last week of the extent of coal deposits at Munna Creek along the Mary Valley represents one more threat to the environment integrity of the Mary River system.  After years of threat to the River from the  Queensland Government’s Traveston Dam proposal, the threat to the world heritage wetlands at the mouth of the Mary River from the Colston coalmine application, and the Queensland Government plans to pipe water from the Mary River any way, the River now faces threats from open-cut mines at Munna Creek and Tiaro.  These are two different coal exploration areas granted to Tiaro Coal Corporation.  A third is located in the Tin Can Bay – Rainbow Beach hinterland.

The Munna Creek – Tiaro developments on top of the emergence during the Federal election campaign of the Colton Coal Mine issue represents an escalation of a campaign to protect our region from being turned into a Queensland version of the Hunter Valley, which is disastrous for public health as well as the environment.  The Colton Coal Mine is an open-cut mine planned by Northern Energy Corporation a mere couple of kilometres from the Aldershot township just outside Maryborough.  That mine is planned to expand into an area drained by the Susan River, which flows directly into the Mary River estuary and the Great Sandy wetlands reserve.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay electorate, 27 September 2010

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The Mary Valley: A deadly lack of vision on all sides

Posted by Jim on September 21, 2010

I refer to the independent member for Nicklin Peter Wellington’s comments published in the Noosa News, Tuesday, 21 September about developing the Mary Valley as a food bowl.

Mr Wellington is picking up rather belatedly on one of the issues I raised during the Federal election campaign back in May.  But Mr Wellington, like most politicians, fails to address the key issues and only scratches at the populist elements of the issue.  What is needed is the immediate cooperation of farmers, agricultural scientists, ecologists, climate scientists, the food industry, economists, the regional communities and the State and Federal Governments to plan out a future for the the Mary Valley.  And set a date on it for implementation in the next 18 months.  Instead land lies in the hands of the State Government, which is only interested in offloading it.

But the future of the Mary Valley must be considered as a matter of urgent national and regional interest as part of an holistic approach to the triple challenges of climate change, population growth and food security.  This makes the Government’s food cropping survey somewhat redundant for the region.  Action is needed now.  In the region.

There is a deadly lack of vision on all sides as the State Labor Government and the LNP continue to show ineptitude on all three of these highest priority challenges.

There is a deadly lack of vision on all sides as the State Labor Government and the LNP continue to show ineptitude on all three of these highest priority challenges.

The Mary Valley should become a model for efficient food production. Food distribution should be reformed by changing the inefficient supply chain practices of the large supermarkets. The primary market for Mary Valley should be the Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Wide Bay regions supplied directly from the Mary Valley, with the surplus exported to the rest of Australia and overseas.

In the face of the failure of the State Labor Government, the LNP at both State and Federal levels in the region are ineffectual on addressing climate change, population and food security.  They also remain silent on the prospect of coalmining along the Mary River.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Electorate, 21 September 2010
Published Noosa News 24 September 2010

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Dialysis win for Maryborough

Posted by Jim on September 12, 2010

The Government neglect of health in the Wide Bay electorate was one of the key issues in the Greens campaign and nowhere was this more evident than the long and arduous trips public patients have to make for treatment and tests.  In some cases, these journeys are round trips of between 450 and 500 kilometres.

The Fraser Coast Chronicle ignored media releases on this issue even when Jim McDonald submitted a media release on the trips that Maryborough dialysis patients had to make to Gympie for treatment.  Two days after the media release The Fraser Coast Chronicle published its own story ignoring the policy issues raised by the Greens. The release was published as a letter in The Gympie Times on 26 June 2010.  The Gympie Times had published the original story on this neglect of dialysis patients in Maryborough.

We are pleased to report that the Queensland Health Minister,Paul Lucas, has now announced that $5 million will go towards six new renal dialysis chairs at Maryborough hospital.

Not before time. But this is a patchwork effort.  Health reform in Wide Bay needs a holistic approach and so far there is little more than rhetoric and catch-up on health issues evident in the electorate.  Let’s hope that the Federal Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, can get quickly onto regional health issues in general and the unsatisfactory position in Wide Bay.

The Federal Health Minister might have some sympathy in her considerations for the fact that Maryborough Hospital no longer has a maternity ward and expectant mothers are required to travel to Hervey Bay.  This is ludicrous treatment of the people of Maryborough.  Reform should ensure that regional cities have proper health facilities.  The Queensland Minister’s statement shows no recognition of the importance of comprehensive local hospital services for the city.

Jim McDonald, Greens spokesperson, Wide Bay electorate, 12 September 2010

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