Thursday, May 25, 2017

Queensland: Beautiful one day, open-cut coalmines the next

Posted by Jim on May 29, 2010

Coal survey maps suggest that large swathes of land from Bundaberg to the Mary Valley could end up as open-cut coal mines. This is adjacent to, and in some cases covers, tourist areas, sensitive environmental areas including watercourses and wetlands, State forests, national parks and viable farmland. It extends to the Mary Valley and the Mary River. Figure 1 is a map of the various coal basins in South-East Queensland.

Figure 1: Coal Basins in South-East Queensland

Source: http://www.dme.qld.gov.au/zone_files/coal_files_pdf/se_qld_coal_map_08.pdf,
accessed 24 May 2010

Figure 1 shows very clearly that the Maryborough Basin intrudes upon Bundaberg and Maryborough and extends as far south as Gympie and into the Mary Valley.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens support Aldershot residents in opposing coal mine

Posted by Jim on May 27, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, told a meeting of the Maryborough Greens campaign team at a briefing on the weekend that Maryborough would soon be surrounded by a number of coalmines.

Open-cut coalmines will change Hervey Bay and Maryborough forever,” he said.Colton Coal Mine, the first of the mines, operated by Northern Energy Corporation, will be dug three kilometres from the town of Aldershot, a few kilometres north of Maryborough.

The people of Aldershot are in the front line of the worst of these changes, which will be 24 hour operations, dust, noise and lights at the mine all night, property devaluation, the destruction of the amenity of the area, and the consequent effects on their health.”

Dr McDonald met with the Aldershot and Districts Against Mining committee for two hours on Saturday afternoon and heard first-hand the fears of the town for the future of their children’s health.

He said that if the Colton Coal Mine had been operating last Friday, when the winds blew all afternoon from the east and north-east, Aldershot would have experienced dust and noise of draglines and the huge mining trucks. Toxic dust would have landed on the roofs of houses, which rely on tank water.

Candidate with AADAM Committee, Campaign Director & member of Greens Maryborough Campaign Committee

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Colton coal mine will turn Aldershot into a mining town

Posted by Jim on May 18, 2010

It is bad enough when coal mining in Queensland and NSW is allowed by State and Governments to ruin prime agricultural land.

When coalmining threatens to destroy the lifestyle of the 500 residents of Aldershot, just north of Maryborough, it’s time to call a halt.

The escalation of open-cut coal mining is creating environmental and social problems as well as alienating agricultural land. The Colton mine has not yet started, but it will be to the detriment of Aldershot and its residents. The mine will be only 3 kilometres from the village. The Colton project will turn Aldershot and the north of Maryborough into a coalmining town.

This is an example of mining moving from remote regions of the state to more intensively settled areas like Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

Mining coal so close to established towns will also cause health problems. A 2008 study of the effect of coalmining in West Virginia in the USA found that the incidence of chronic illness in coalmining communities grows as coal production increases1.

Coalmining produces carbon dioxide, methane and sulphuric acid as well as dust and will interfere with the water table. The mine will put pressure on water resources in the region. There are wetlands, which the Colton mine will also affect, as well as the Susan River which flows into the Mary River estuary.

Initially the developer, Northern Energy Corporation, told the community in April this year that mining would last 8 to 10 years. That estimate did not add up. In February, the estimated reserve was reported as being 57.4 million tons. NEC says that it will be shipping out 500,000 tonnes of coal a year once the open-cut mine starts up. Do the maths: the mine is good for a century as it spreads to the northern suburbs of Maryborough.

Planning legislation must stop open cut coal mines devastating agricultural areas, near residential areas or near environmentally sensitive areas, especially given the industry’s appalling record on environmental management and site rehabilitation.

1. M Hendryx and M Ahern, “Relations between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia,” April 2008, The American Journal of Public Health.

Thanks for contribution to this post by Drew Hutton

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FIRB allows companies owned by foreign governments to buy up farmland

Posted by Jim on May 15, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, has raised concerns about Foreign Investment Review Board approvals for the purchase of agricultural land by corporations with substantial foreign government ownership.

I want to know whether land in the Wide Bay and Burnett region is been sold off to overseas companies owned by foreign governments.

The Greens’ policy on agriculture calls for the protection of prime agricultural land from urban developments and other encroachments. I would add to that the specific protection of the sovereignty of agricultural lands.

These principles are under attack by FIRB approvals of agricultural land purchases by corporations substantially owned by foreign governments.

The question of foreign investment in Australian resources and industry is one thing. It is quite a different issue when foreign governments are involved.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Speech given on climate change panel, Accidently Carbon Street, Maleny, 23 April 2010

Posted by Jim on May 9, 2010

Having heard the science and having heard the sceptics, what do I do as the first Greens member of parliament in the House of Representatives?

Let’s assume that – like Senator Fielding in the Senate – I hold the balance of power between Labor and the Coalition. And there is before the House of Representatives a Bill that aims to reduce the production of carbon dioxide in Australia. The Bill has been controversial because it places a significant impost on industry and it will mean that costs inevitably will be passed onto the consumer. The Bill also contains provisions that will require renewable energy targets to be met by power companies and households to cut back significantly on the production of carbon dioxide by coal-fired power stations.

I am not a scientist. Whom do I go to? Do I listen to what the scientific community is saying about global warming, or do I ask myself whether I should turn to the few scientists who claim that the science is faulty, that any carbon dioxide produced by factories, aeroplanes and vehicles in the past two hundred years is too small to have made a significant impact on global temperatures, that the current rise in temperatures is part of a long, natural climate cycle?

I am struck, first of all, that there is no single science that can give me the answers. There are climatologists, atmospheric scientists, cosmologists, geologists, biologists, historians. No single source. But the United Nations has pulled together the relevant research reported in thousands of papers that have gone through the greater or lesser rigours of peer review. That should help me? WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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MEDIA LAUNCH STATEMENT: Jim McDonald for Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010

I am pleased to be working with the team to elect Larissa Waters to the Senate. I expect her to be the first Greens Senator in Queensland.

She will make a quality Senator when she joins the competent women senators in the Greens who have made a significant contribution to the job of governance of this country.

Launch 30/4/10

Greens Senate Candidate Larissa Waters and Wide Bay Candidate Jim McDonald talking to the cameras


I have spent the last several weeks talking to people in the Wide Bay electorate from Murgon to Tin Can Bay and from Noosa to Maryborough.

It will be my task as the Greens candidate to bring to the fore the issues that are important to the people in the electorate.

People are sick of the spin doctors. The Greens’ polling on Climate Change makes it quite clear that people want action not spin. They want straight talking not weasel words. They want a vision for Australia not protection of vested interests. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens will not do preference deals in Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on April 22, 2010

Greens candidate, Dr Jim McDonald, said “There will be no preference deals in Wide Bay for the Federal election.”

He was responding on comments yesterday by the National Member for Wide Bay, Hon Warren Truss and National Senator Ron Boswell.

The National Party parliamentarians said that there might be a pre-election deal between Labor and the Greens.

“Senator Boswell and Mr Truss are guilty of misinformation,” he said. “At the last Federal election, the Greens made no preference deals with any party in Wide Bay and the Nationals have made no approach to the Branch for talks on any issues.

“Wide Bay Greens have already decided not to preference any party at the next Federal election. The Branch is adamant that there should be no preference deals because of Coalition lack of environmental policies and Labor’s policies on refugees. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Coal, prime agricultural land, and foreign ownership

Posted by Jim on April 19, 2010

My media checks brought up on Friday the issue of foreign purchasing of Australian agricultural land under relaxed FIRB rules [Business Week].  The Australian Greens’ website contains a couple of relevant speeches by Greens Senator Scott Ludlum on the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Amendment Bill in February and Bob Brown last year on BHP-Chinaco merger.

In my view, we should be rather more careful in the national interest about allowing foreign control of Australian resources. The relaxation of control of Australian interests and resources is a product of a naive mindset about free trade, deregulation, and unfettered markets that extends from the 1970s-1980s debates about tariff protection to such matters as the too-ready importation of skilled migrants at the expense of training Australians.  That provision has generated the practice of importing labour under Section 457 visas, which has produced some  examples of exploitative practices.  And it has the high potential to undermine Australian workers’ conditions and wages.  On the question of skilled migration, I applaud Bob Brown for his call to slow down the rate of skilled migration and train more workers in Australia. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Daylight Saving a Diversionary Stunt

Posted by Jim on April 16, 2010

The Bligh Government has used the daylight saving issue to divert people’s attention from privatisation as the closing dates for tenders for the sale of our forests and the railways loom, according to Jim McDonald.

Dr McDonald is the Queensland Greens candidate for the federal Wide Bay electorate.

The introduction of daylight saving as an issue by independent Peter Wellington, Member for Nicklin, is perfect timing if the Premier wanted people to think about something else other than privatisation, he said.

The Premier knows that her privatisation plans will affect the federal vote. Selling off the forests to foreign interests and the railways to coal interests might lie under State jurisdiction,” he said, “But the sales have national implications.

Too much of Australia’s resources and infrastructure are going under the hammer to foreign interests and Australians are getting fed up with Governments making it too easy to sell off the farm to overseas companies and individuals.

I find it interesting that the Premier is using the online social networking tool, Twitter, and inviting people in the regions to let people know what they think about the daylight saving question.

Why,” he asked, “Did she not do the same for selling off publicly owned assets? It seems to me that, while people certainly have strong opinions about daylight saving, privatisation is a more important issue on which Government MPs might consult with their electorate.”

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Forestry sell-off a sell-out to overseas investors?

Posted by Jim on April 15, 2010

The long-term sustainability of Gympie’s forestry industry could be decimated by the State sell-off of Forestry Plantations Queensland, the Greens candidate for the federal electorate of Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said today.

The Government’s documentation for tenders states that there is strong demand for Forestry Plantation Queensland’s products. If that is so, why would the Bligh Government sell off such a good asset to foreign buyers?

For the sake of $20 million of government investment a year in a healthy industry, which last year turned in $72.4 million of sales, the State is flogging off a viable asset.

It doesn’t have the moral right to do that. That industry has been developed over the long term by taxpayers’ money for the public purse,” Dr McDonald said.

He said the environmental record of some private firms in forestry industries here and overseas has been rightly the subject of concern.

Those concerns have been brought to Gympie and the Sunshine Coast by the same State Government that proposed the Traveston Dam.

The sale not only jeopardises the job security of 400 forestry workers in the medium term, but the overall economic health of the region if the workforce is cut.

There is a strong possibility that the forests in the Gympie and Sunshine Coast regions will be in foreign hands by June this year.

One likely purchaser is John Hancock Financial Services Inc., an American group of companies that has bought up a large section of the plantation and forests industry in Victoria.

Hancock’s clear felling practices in rain catchment areas and in koala habitats have been questioned by Victorian environmentalists concerned about the sustainability of Victorian timber resources.

Environmentalists have accused the Hancock company of decimating large tracts of koala habitat in the Strzelecki Ranges in South-East Victoria and they claim the company has failed to apply proper koala management practices,” he said.

I cannot see how it is the national interest to contemplate the sale of resources such as those owned by Forestry Plantations Queensland to a foreign investment company.

The Queensland Greens in Wide Bay support the unions and the community in objecting to this sell-off of what are fundamentally our resources,” he said.

Media Release, 13 April 2010, Published Gympie Times, 15 April 2010

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