Sunday, May 28, 2017

Even Alan Jones gets it: coal and CSG are bad for our country

Posted by Jim on April 24, 2011

We have been concerned about this for some time.

Even Alan Jones gets it.

State and Federal Governments, Labor and the LNP don’t: failure to protect our farmland will kill off agriculture and the environment.

Click on the mike to hear Alan Jones’ podcast:

Jim McDonald, Greens spokesperson Wide Bay electorate, 24 April 2011

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Greens continue to support Kin Kin residents in quarry battle

Posted by Jim on March 23, 2011

I am not a resident of the Kin Kin district. I live in Noosa.  Indeed, I am the Greens candidate for Noosa in the next State election, which might be sooner rather than next year. Even though Kin Kin is outside my electorate, I would like you to know that we will continue to assist the community in its campaign against the expansion of the quarry at Shepperson’s Lane.

The proposition that there should be any large quarry in this district is contrary to the interests of all those who live in Kin Kin and those of us for whom it is a valuable part of our geography and environment. The Premier when she had responsibility for planning refused a permit for a very large resort on the grounds that it would destroy the village and rural amenity of the district. That a large industrial quarry should be contemplated, close to the centre of Kin Kin with 40 tonne trucks terrifying every other motorist on the small country roads that link Kin Kin to the rest of the Sunshine Coast, the Cooloola and the Bruce Highway, has even less merit.

I have encountered a quarry truck while driving in the opposite direction on the Range Road so I know first hand the reality of the danger they pose to every other motorist: there is absolutely no margin for error. And that represents a serious danger to every other road user and especially to a bus full of Kin Kin’s children. To my mind this indicates that the quarry can never satisfy the haulage requirements for quarries let alone the moral issues of protecting children and preserving the peaceful environment of Kin Kin.

The roads already have maintenance requirements. If you want to see what these heavy vehicles do to the rural roads in our region, travel along the Eumundi-Kenilworth Road or Moy Pocket Road. I use Eumundi-Kenilworth Road often and each time I do, the road is chopped up further. So, the danger represented by encountering large quarry trucks will be exacerbated by the poor condition of roads damaged by equipment they were never designed for, creating further dangerous conditions, even if you are fortunate enough not to encounter one of those haulage trucks bearing down on you.

I used the word, “moral”. I did not introduce it lightly. What strikes me about how government and operators approach coalmining, coal seam gas extraction and quarrying is the degree to which they will ride roughshod over communities and individuals. It is unacceptable, anti-social and damaging behaviour: it is unethical.

Jim McDonald, Comment on In Kin Kin, 23 March 2011

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Merry Christmas

Posted by Jim on December 25, 2010

Wide Bay Greens wishes all our readers a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2011

Mary River Tiaro

Mary River at Tiaro, Photo Jim McDonald

May the New Year see the Mary River system, its communities, and its wildlife  protected from coal mining and coal seam gas extraction forever.

Jim McDonald

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Coal, coal seam gas, food production, food security, climate change and population

Posted by Jim on December 20, 2010

The effects of irreversible environmental damage are just one of the factors in the battle against the excesses of the coalmining industry.  Top quality farming land faces devastation by coalmining or CSG extraction and that of course has been the focus of the campaigns against coalmining and its expansion.

To my mind, it is not only the environmental vandalism that is evident in the Hunter Valley, for example, but it is also the absence of Federal and State food security policies that is the most shocking context of this impetus to expand mining and extraction into productive land in the Hunter Valley [agricultural productivity is already decimated], the Liverpool Plains and the Darling Downs.  I am outraged that any Australian Government allows foreign companies owned by foreign governments [Shinghua 67% by PRC] or any mining company to buy up agricultural land for mining and CSG extraction.

I am equally outraged that they allow the sale of top quality agricultural land land to foreign companies owned by foreign governments whose mission statements refer to the food security of the foreign country [Hassad Foods & Qatar].  Australia is allowing foreign governments to purchase Australian land for their food security?  In the absence of a food security policy – let alone a strategy – for Australia!  That is a betrayal of Australia and future generations of Australians.

The campaign against coal needs to shift gears and address the failure of food security planning as a matter of urgency while the Labor Party and the Coalition are failing the nation and its grandchildren.  Indeed I would argue that the campaign against coalmining and coal seam gas should also adopt the discourse of betrayal of our national interest.  Even though there has been much made of the nonsensical proposition of allowing mining of top agricultural land, it might be seen as been a matter of self-interest on the part of farmers by an un-engaged city audience.

The failure of planners to take account of the impact of alienating productive land is a long-standing problem on the verges of urban expansion with the disappearance of large market garden areas around our cities and towns.  It doesn’t only happen in the capitals: it happens in regional cities such as Toowoomba.

The food security policy vacuum is locked into the other two major issues of our time and for the next generation [ie to 2030] and the next [to 2050]: population and climate change.  The population grows as we see the prospect of productive land diminished by Greed, Coal and CSG.  The best agricultural land must be preserved to feed our rapidly growing population, especially in the face of shifting climate characteristics and extended and more severe weather events.  But governments are sitting on their thumbs.

Take the Queensland Government, for example.  It now owns the agricultural land in the upper Mary River Valley while coalminers plan open cut pits along the river’s major tributaries and the river itself.  What does the Bligh Government do about planning food security for South-East Queensland and in particular, what does it do about the land it ill-advisedly purchased for the Traveston Dam?  It has run a food cropping land “inquiry” that does not specifically address food security nor specifically address the best use of the land it now owns and it can’t re-sell to the farmers it pushed off the land.  Is there a panel of agricultural scientists, environmental experts, and the local community nutting out a model plan for food security in the Mary Valley and planning for climate change?  Forget it!

Jim McDonald, Greens Wide Bay Spokesperson, 20/12/10

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Is coal and mining exploration a threat to the Sunshine Coast?

Posted by Jim on

Jim McDonald was recently interviewed on Noosa Community Radio about the coalmining exploration in the Wide Bay and north Sunshine Coast and the possibility of further exploration in  Sunshine Coast.

Listen to the interview here

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 18/12/10

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Greens call on Gympie Regional Council to oppose coalmining and Coal Seam Gas extraction in the Mary River Valley

Posted by Jim on December 14, 2010

The Greens spokesperson for the Wide Bay Federal Electorate, Dr Jim McDonald, has called on the Gympie Regional Council to stand up to mining interests in the Mary River Valley.

He said there is a serious threat of coal seam gas [CSG] extraction in the Mary River Valley and drilling exploration had commenced in Wolvi.

“People should not be complacent about their region,” he said. “The Fraser Coast Council this week announced its support for CSG exploration in Hervey Bay. It is not impossible that some Gympie councillors won’t likewise be seduced by the coal industry’s spin.

“Tiaro Coal has already commenced CSG exploration at Munna Creek and the company recently started exploration drilling in the Wolvi district. Coalmining and CSG extraction irreversibly destroys the aquifers, uses huge amounts of water, and creates problems with storage of contaminated water.

“One of the issues that people don’t think about is what happens to the water allocations when mining companies buy out farming land. If the coal companies get their way they will control the Mary River and its tributaries. Coalmining and CSG extraction in the Mary Valley will utilise millions of megalitres of water a year if mining is allowed to go ahead.

“Mining along the Mary River and its tributaries within the Gympie Regional Council boundaries and further downstream will turn the region into the Hunter Valley. That is a far greater threat to the Mary River Valley and its communities than the Traveston Dam ever was.”

Dr McDonald, who has just returned from touring the Hunter Valley and the Darling Downs speaking to residents, shopkeepers and farmers, said the region’s Councils and people were too complacent about the mounting threats to the Mary Valley from coal and CSG interests. “Already farmers and communities in the Wandoan district face huge open-cut mines and some farms already have CSG wells dug on their properties.

“It will happen here and when it does, that will be the end of the Mary Valley forever and all the excellent work done to protect the viability of the Mary River and its communities will have been for nothing.

“You have to ask what the State member for Gympie, David Gibson, and the Federal Member, Warren Truss, are doing. They turned up at Traveston Dam protests, but their silence on coal and gas mining speaks volumes about their true environmental credentials.

“There’s a lot of rot spoken about coalmining bringing jobs and prosperity. In fact, it reduces agricultural productivity, alienates good cropping and grazing land forever, destroys property values and communities, and does little to stimulate retail businesses. Coalmining is a toxic threat environmentally, socially and economically.

“Gympie businesses might be seduced by the prospects of mining coming to the region but coalmining and CSG will wreck the Mary Valley for the sake of a relatively few jobs, the bulk of which will go to skilled and experienced workers and contractors from outside the the region. This happens at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley. Retail outlets are struggling. Over the weekend the miners not on shift have left town. Muswellbrook is only 220 km from Sydney, about the same distance Gympie is from Brisbane. Coalmining offers little true benefit to Gympie’s economy.”

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, media release

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Mr Truss should stop misinforming Queenslanders about the Greens fishing policy

Posted by Jim on October 20, 2010

Mr Truss should stop misinforming Queenslanders about the Greens fishing policy. He cannot know what the Federal Government will do under the Marine Parks inquiry until the reports come in.

The Nationals under Senator Boswell and Mr Truss have whipped up hysteria in response to the patent need to manage Australian fisheries. They and their supporters in the industry have been less than honest in their portrayal of our fishing policy.

The Nationals’ policy states that “greater care must be taken to ensure these delicate eco systems are protected.” But the Nationals have no plans for managing Australia’s fisheries and their subversive campaign against the review is against the national interest with respect to the future of seafood resources and contrary to their own broad statement on fisheries.

The Greens’ comprehensive fishing policy can be accessed online at http://widebaygreens.org/2010/07/570/.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Electorate, posted on mysunshinecoast, 20 October 2010
Letter published, Gympie Times, Saturday 23 October 2010

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Coal exploration extends into Sunshine Coast

Posted by Jim on October 4, 2010

Coalmining threatens the Sunshine Coast, warned the Greens spokesperson for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald.

He said that Tiaro Coal Limited had already conducted aerial surveys in the Wolvi region, and recently reported to the Stock Exchange that it would soon commence exploration drilling in the district. It can do this under a coal exploration permit EPC967 issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Planning.

Countryside near Wolvi [Photo, Jim McDonald]

The Greens raised coalmining along the Mary Valley as a major issue in the Wide Bay electorate during the recent federal election, and supported the Aldershot community near Maryborough in its fight against an open-cut coalmine just a couple of kilometres from their town.

“The Mary River is threatened by the strong possibility of open cut mines being dug from Munna Creek, one of its major tributaries in the Mary Valley, to Maryborough. That will have devastating effects on the ecology of the river, which is home to rare and threatened species, and on the internationally listed Great Sandy Wetlands, a sea grass environment that supports dugong, dolphins, prawns and fisheries.

“Now, the Sunshine Coast faces the intrusion of coalmining activity near the Noosa River catchment area. Coalmining has no place in coastal regions or where there is top quality farming land in Queensland.

Dr McDonald called upon the LNP spokesperson on the environment, Glen Elmes, and the Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, to reject open cut mining along the Mary River, the Cooloola Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

He said he doubted that they would do so, because the Nationals support coalmining in the region. “They certainly didn’t oppose the Colton Coal Mine during the Federal election.

“The Greens will fight the introduction of coalmines into our region.”

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, Media Release, 4 October 2010
Coverage: Sunshine Coast Daily 5/10/10; Gympie Times 6/10/10; Noosa News 8/10/10

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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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