Posted by Jim on August 2, 2010
Proposals to allow the expansion of the Kin Kin quarry raise issues about its suitability in the Kin Kin district. The following are comments made by the former Minister for Infrastructure and now Premier about the Titanium tourist project, which are relevant to the quarry:
“I need to be satisfied the proposed size and location is consistent with the intent of the SEQ Regional Plan.
“The site includes good quality agricultural land and areas of significant biodiversity value – the very areas the SEQ Regional Plan was established to protect.
“The Regional Plan is our safeguard to ensure growth in SEQ is managed in a sensible fashion. It protects more than 80 per cent of the region from urban development while providing for better land use, environmental protection, improved connections between homes and infrastructure and sustainable use of resources such as water and energy.”
“Ms Bligh said her decision followed a rigorous assessment process by the State Government and Noosa Shire Council. The development application has been the subject of deliberation by numerous agencies since it was lodged in November 2005….”
[Noosa Shire Council] refused the application, citing reasons including that the application was in conflict with their own planning scheme….
[Ministerial Media Statement, 18 April 2007]
Ms Bligh said in Parliament last year:
“No wonder the expert planning advice I received as part of the call-in said that ‘the proposed development would introduce inappropriate levels of development’ and that ‘the site has significant biodiversity values’ and ‘there is no overriding public interest to justify the conversion of this land to non-rural development’.”
As State departments dither on the quarry, why are not the same principles being applied by the the Council and State Government on this issue?
Posted by Jim on August 1, 2010
The Federal member, Mr Truss, has so far failed to voice his considered opinion on a range of issues that would impact on the economy, the social fabric, the environmental health, and the lifestyle of the population in the Wide Bay electorate.
Central to all of these concerns is the health of the Mary River. The Mary River is an iconic artery that runs through the electorate and there are many issues that could have detrimental impacts on river flows, the estuarine areas, and the Great Sandy Straits. The flow of the Mary River is integral to the health of the seagrass fields in the heritage protected Great Sandy wetlands.
Just as the region is recovering from the Traveston Dam debacle, the Mary River faces threats from three massive open-cut coal mines alongside the Susan River tributary near Aldershot, at Tiaro, and Munna Creek. In addition, the State Government proposes to divert water from the Mary River.
Munna Creek in Wide Bay electorate flows into Mary River Photo: Jim McDonald
Would Mr Truss support the Federal Government rejecting State Government plans to transfer water from the Mary River to Brisbane by applying the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in a Coalition Government?
When is he going to stand up for the residents of Aldershot, and come out in opposition to plans to discharge coalmine waste-water into the river system, which might affect fisheries and the Great Sandy Strait?
Mr Truss has had a lot to say about bridges in the lead-up to the election, but we are yet to hear his views on the risks to the river of proposed bridges over the Mary River at Traveston Crossing, which is planned to follow the approximate line of the former proposed dam wall, and Coles Creek?
It is incontestable that waste water from coalmines, the groundwater effects on the Susan River of the Colton Coal Mine, and State Government water diversion will harm the environmental flows in the Mary River, affecting the marine environment in Hervey Bay and the Sandy Straits, and the tourist and fishing industries. The health of the Mary River is not something a responsible Member could remain silent about.
Letter published Gympie Times, Saturday, 31 July 2010
Posted by Jim on July 29, 2010
The Wide Bay Greens candidate, Jim McDonald, said he is perplexed as to how Councillors and the Sunshine Coast Council can allow a mega quarry to gear up in Kin Kin. The Council has approved a large quarry developed for concrete aggregate at the end of Shepparson’s lane alongside the Noosa Trail Network.
“The roads into Kin Kin village are basically country lanes. The main route from Pomona is not even wide enough for line marking and includes three single lane bridges. There is a requirement for quarry approvals to cover provisions for haulage. That has clearly not happened in Kin Kin.
“The road system is too small for quarry trucks and highway entry is on one of the worst black spots on the Bruce Highway near Pomona. Sunshine Coast Council seems to have broken its own rules. The heavy haulage traffic that the expansion of the quarry will bring will endanger the lives of everyone who travels on Kin Kin district’s roads. That’s a dereliction of duty in ensuring due care in managing the roads.
“Were Mayor Bob Abbott and local Councillor Lew Brennan asleep on the job? The proposal for a large quarry has been on the table for a couple of years.
“A large tourist project had been dumped by Anna Bligh when she was the Minister for Infrastructure because Kin Kin didn’t have the infrastructure. It would never have brought the heavy trucks that the quarry will bring, yet the Titanium project was rejected.
“Now the Council and the State Government are paying pass the parcel, while residents are rightly fearful and annoyed by the intransigence of the Council and the failures of the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Environment and Resource Management.
“Inappropriate coalmining and quarrying in the Wide Bay electorate represent a major threat to residents’ lifestyle, regional infrastructure, and the environment. They undermine the efforts of the Noosa and the Great Sandy Biospheres to inject a sustainable approach to conservation and resource utilisation.
“In the Kin Kin case, this breach of principle is nothing short of a crazy indifference to the community.”
Jim McDonald media release, 29 July 2010
Posted by Jim on July 21, 2010
I refer to your article, “Still fighting for Mary River” [Gympie Times, 17 July 2010], which refers to State Government plans to harvest water from the river.
The Mary River also faces major threats from coal mines at Munna Creek and along the river near Tiaro. Closer to the mouth of the Mary, the estuary faces the risks of pollution from a coal mine planned along the Susan River that flows into the Mary River estuary.
What the Mary River needs is a concerted clean-up of water quality. Instead we see more talk of measures that will further degrade the river.
I have written to the federal Environment Minister to intervene in the Colton Coal Mine proposed near the Susan River, but with the timing of the Federal election we fear that the State Government and the miners will proceed with approvals that will change the ecology of the Mary River forever.
Wide Bay Electorate
Published in Gympie Times, 21 July 2010
Posted by Jim on July 18, 2010
What is it about mining and quarrying that brings out the worst in corporations and in all levels of government and the best in communities? Community groups in the Mary Valley, Aldershot and Kin Kin are great examples in the Wide Bay electorate of community resilience and wonderful skills quickly learned and applied.
Kin Kin Community Group briefing Saturday, 17 July 2010. Photo, Jim McDonald
The Kin Kin Community Group has been fighting approvals given to a small quarry by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the State Government to expand into a very large quarry.
Last week, as if to thumb its nose at the community and the legal case before the court, a large section of the quarry was blasted by the operators.
Premier Anna Bligh had refused an application for a large tourist complex when she was Infrastructure Minister because the infrastructure did not support such a large enterprise near the small village of Kin Kin.
The same narrow winding roads, which are not even wide enough for line marking and have single lane bridges, and will carry large quarry trucks if the quarry is allowed to go ahead, were not adequate for a large commercial tourist operation.
It has to be asked, what role has the Divisional Councillor and the Mayor played in the promotion of the Quarry expansion where up to 40 trucks a day will thunder down Kin Kin’s roads?
The Greens have already backed the community and yesterday the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, the Greens candidate for Groom, Frida Forsberg, Michael Kane from the Queensland Greens Management Committee, and the Wide Bay Campaign Manager, Bob Borsellino, were briefed on developments in Kin Kin.
Members of Kin Kin Community Group and Greens representatives on site in Kin Kin
Jim McDonald promised his ongoing support for the community group in fighting the quarry and The Greens are planning additional political support for the campaign against the mega quarry.
While campaigns such as Kin Kin’s fight against the expansion of the quarry bring out the best in communities, it also brings out nasty elements. Someone supporting the quarry has systematically destroyed community signs against the quarry:
One of the signs destroyed by vandals supporting quarry. Photo, Jim McDonald
Similar dirty tricks are played out in Aldershot, where community notices and noticeboards against the Colton Coal Mine are regularly destroyed and damaged by night vandals.
Posted by Jim on July 13, 2010
A NSW State Government report on air quality, noise levels and drinking water issues has found that coal mines near Camberwell in the Hunter Valley, NSW, have been exposing locals to an excessive level of dust.
The study found daily dust concentrations exceeded standards during 2008 between 10 and 30 days at different monitoring stations in and near Camberwell. Noise levels were close to exceeding acceptable levels, and the report found they could rise further if the mines were expanded. However, the research revealed there is no evidence of high lead levels in drinking water in rainwater tanks.
One of the coal mines is further from Camberwell than the Colton Coal Mine will be from Aldershot and, like the reserves near Aldershot, are metallurgical coal deposits.
Jim McDonald, 13 July 2010
Sources: iPrime Newcastle; Camberwell Metallurgical Coal Mine
Posted by Jim on July 10, 2010
I have writen to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, pointing out the environmental risks associated with the Colton Coal Mine outside Maryborough and Aldershot:
Northern Energy Corporation plans to develop a 200 metre deep open-cut coal mine adjacent to the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland in Hervey Bay. It is 3 km from the Susan River that flows into the Mary River and forms the Ramsar boundary. It is 3 km from the town of Aldershot and 7 km from Maryborough. The Corporation plans to pump excess water from a coalwash plant that is capable of processing 1.5 million tons of coal a year to Saltwater Creek that also flows into the Mary River estuary. This represents a major environmental threat as well as a health threat to nearby communities.
You refused approval for the Traveston Dam in the Mary Valley among other reasons “because it had the potential to impact on nationally listed threatened species, migratory species, the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland, and the World Heritage values of Fraser Island.”
The Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands on your Department’s website says the area covers significant seagrass habitat, which is “likely to be one of the most important habitat components for maintenance of the present ecological health and diversity exhibited by the region.”
These areas act as nursery and feeding grounds for prawns and fish, and feeding grounds for dugong and turtles. The Information Sheet also records sightings of Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins [Sousa Chinensis], pilot whales and false killer whales in the region.
Those Ramsar wetlands have come under an even greater threat from coalmining. Northern Energy Corporation has completed drilling assays in the Wallum landscape behind Hervey Bay and has applied to the Queensland Government for a mining lease for the establishment of a 100 million tonnes plus open-cut coal mine close to the Susan River boundary of the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland.
The Susan River is critical to the health of the Great Sandy wetlands in the Mary River estuary. It has a small but significant inflow into the estuary and the wetlands. At least two species of dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin and the common dolphin use the Susan River.
The Susan River is a Queensland Declared Fish habitat. According to the Information Sheet, the Susan River and Maroom Fish Habitat Areas combine to protect (in part) tidal lands of approximately 28,000 ha in the centre of Great Sandy Strait.
The Susan river is also home to six species of mangroves, which are used extensively for honey production by commercial beekeepers.
The Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia listed potential threats from the levels of chemical pollutants and turbidity/siltation in the system as a result of increased urbanisation and agricultural activities. The threat of heavy metals and other pollutants from an open-cut coal mine intensifies the threats to the integrity of the ecology of the wetlands.
I therefore call upon you to intervene in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 before an election is called to prevent this mine being approved when the Government is in caretaker mode.
Posted by Jim on July 3, 2010
[This material may be added to]
Mr. Mark Turner, Northern Energy Corporation:
“Some people are worried about the dust causing asthma but the particular size particle that causes asthma will generally fall out (of the air) before it gets to Aldershot” Fraser Coast Chronicle, 24 June 2010
Comment by Dr. Dick van Steenis MBBS, UK expert on coal mine pollution
The position of Mr. Mark Turner of Northern Energy claiming to be the confident Mr. Fix-it is untenable because he appears totally ignorant of the laws of physics, chemistry, asthma and physiology for starters. He needs to learn that the size of particle that causes asthma is smaller than 2.5 microns, namely PM2.5, and these rise in the air and travel at least 3 miles (4.8km) with those living within 3.2km very badly at risk. That means that Aldershot will be very badly hit.
The vehicles & mining produce lots of PM1 and PM2.5 particles. At Brighton UK in 2007, four earth-moving machines produced a week average of PM1s of 253ug/m3 and of PM2.5s 163ug/m3. The “safe” level of these sizes is around 7ug/m3 and USA/Canada/Japan annual limit of PM2.5s is 15ug/m3.
Studies in Derbyshire and Gwaun-cae- Gurwen revealed 33% of children get asthma 1 mile from an opencast (proved by peakflow measurements etc). At 2 miles 21% of children developed asthma and 12% at 3 miles. These figures are consistent with spirometry of 900 children in the Hunter Valley NSW.
These fine particles produced by the vehicles by emissions and what is thrown up also cause COPD, heart attacks, depression, chronic invalidity and cancers. I attach my 4 page report and 364 references. These will reveal Mr. Turner’s belief in no “health risk” is just deception. Its not a matter of “fear of the unknown” but proven wrecking of the population’s health for financial gain.
In West Virginia USA a recent study found the health damage and premature deaths cost more than the value of the coal. I suggest sceptics travel to Merthyr Tydfil in Wales UK to see opencasting of coal at its worst. Will the company pay for all those within 3 miles to be rehoused as the solution in addressing legitimate “concerns”?? The death rate in the Hunter Valley is 37% above the average for Australia—that could easily be replicated in Queensland.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Jim on June 30, 2010
In 2007, Anna Bligh, then Minister for Infrastructure refused an application for the development of a $400 million tourism development in the village of Kin Kin. Not only did she say that the project was in conflict with the SEQ regional plan, which allows for smaller tourism businesses such as farm stays and Bed and Breakfast establishments, but she also pointed out, “The region just doesn’t have the infrastrucure to support a development of this size.”
The Kin Kin district doesn’t have the infrastructure for up to 40 trucks a day carrying up to 42 tonnes of rock on the roads either. Kin Kin is notorious for the narrow winding roads that lead to the town. Roads in and out of Kin Kin will become a death trap.
Today I visited this quiet little corner and saw Sunshine Coast Regional Council surveyors marking out the road leading from the quarry to the Kin Kin – Wolvi Road for an upgrade. There is nothing in the Main Roads budget for improving the roads. And, this is despite the Council and Kin Kin residents about to face each other in court.
Wahpunga Creek flows off a ridge, past the quarry, and eventually into Kin Kin Creek, which in turn flows into the Noosa River. The Department of Environment doesn’t call this a stream!
Wahpunga Creek: Qld Dep't of Environment & Resource Management says this is not a creek! Photo Jim McDonald
When it rains, it is quite clear from the next photograph that the stream suffers from quarry run-off. This flows eventually through to Kin Kin Creek and Noosa River. This case is an example of tricksy, bureaucratic nonsense emanating from Departments whose function is to protect the environment, but whose arbitrary decisions are ultimately harmful to residents and the environment. This is what the quarry did to the Wahpunga Creek after rain:
Wahpunga Creek downstream from quarry after rain; clear surface water flowing from neighbour's property Photo Maree Glasby
By the way, the road being surveyed, Sheppersons Lane, is part of the Noosa Trail Network!
There are some complicated issues about the legality of the quarry, which has been a small part-time quarry for years. But, the central issue is that accessibility issues have the seeds of tragedy in them if this small quarry is upscaled. Meanwhile, the lessee forges ahead.
Drilling proceeds for expanding Kin Kin Quarry, 30 June 2010 Photo Jim McDonald
The Greens support the Kin Kin community, which has been working hard to prevent their roads being overrun by large trucks that have no place in their small hamlet. Your Wide Bay candidate, Jim McDonald, called on the LNP Opposition spokesperson on the environment, the Hon Glen Elmes, to get moving on the issue. This needs real action to prevent a disastrous result for Kin Kin and district residents.
Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate, Wide Bay, 30 June 2010
Posted by Jim on June 29, 2010
Tiaro Coal Limited is focussing on the development of a coal mine at Munna Creek.
Munna Creek flows into Mary River Photo Jim McDonald
Munna Creek has a catchment area of 1475 square kilometres. There are problems with weeds infesting wetlands along its course. But, this Mary River tributary faces its greatest threat: the development of open cut coalmines.
The Greens oppose coal mines in the Wide Bay electorate. What’s your position, Mr Truss?
Comment: Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, 29 June 2010