Sunday, May 28, 2017

Coal Mining and towns don’t mix

Posted by Jim on June 23, 2010

I refer to the announcement by Colton Coal Mine’s Managing Director, Keith Barker announcement that the mine would go ahead [“Fraser Coast Chronicle” 22 June 2010].

Residents in Maryborough would be advised to look at the experience of Singleton in the Upper Hunter Valley before they got too excited about the prospect of a mine outside the town.

The affect on children’s respiratory health in Singleton is that one in four children experience problems, almost twice the national average for respiratory problems in children of one in nine.

The affect on public health in Singleton reflects experience in mining communities overseas and there have been many research papers that have confirmed that the proximity of coal mines to a community will have an effect on public health for both adults and children.

The community at Aldershot have done their homework on this, which is why they have opposed the mine. The Colton Coal Mine will be a mere three kilometres from the town.

It is surprising that Warren Truss, the member for the Federal electorate of Wide Bay has been quiet on the issue. Large open-cut mines in remote Queensland are one matter. A two hundred metre deep mine close to cities on the Coast is another. Especially when the estimated reserves will mean many decades of mining.

When the Queensland Government considers Northern Energy Corporation’s application they will have to choose whether mining royalties are more important than the communities of Wide Bay and Maryborough. I look forward to Mr Truss’s comments on the mine.

Federal Environment Minister, Mr Peter Garrett might likewise consider the impact on the immediate environment, as he did with Traveston Dam.

Letter to Fraser Coast Chronicle: 22 June 2010, Published 28 June 2010

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Patient trips show need for real hospital reform

Posted by Jim on

The fact that Maryborough patients have to travel to Maryborough for dialysis treatment is indicative of the need for real reform of the hospital system in the Wide bay Electorate according to the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald.

“Dialysis patients often need more than one session a week and travelling up and down the Bruce Highway for treatment is appalling, especially when patients requiring dialysis are feeling unwell.

“The neglect of health is also felt in the west of the electorate. Cancer patients in towns like Murgon and Goomeri have to take a return journey of up to 500 kilometres to Toowoomba for some cancer treatments and tests. That is not a system that is designed for patients.

“Free transport offered dialysis patients by the Queensland Minister for Health is not the central issue. Patient well-being is what it should be about and long, arduous trips for treatment or tests fail that criterion.

“Hospital and clinical resources in the whole of the Wide Bay electorate are poorly organised and it amounts to Government neglect of public patients.”

Dr McDonald said that the Rudd Government’s so-called health reforms must address the question of access to health services.

“Patients need reform rather than rhetoric. Real reform will drive an upgrade of Maryborough and Gympie hospitals to improve services across the electorate.

“Pressure on one hospital is a pressure on all the hospitals in our region. With population growth pushing up from the Sunshine Coast into Gympie, the situation will escalate.

“Communities need to have confidence that the smaller hospitals are not under any threat and expansion of services in the larger hospitals should reduce the need for trips to Brisbane except in cases of the highest medical emergency.”

“Real reform will address the present inequality of health service delivery in our region compared with the metropolitan area.

“But when Mr Rudd travelled to regional Queensland with health hand-outs, he ignored the electorate. Wide Bay is not a marginal Labor seat.

Media Release: 22 June 2010; letter published, Gympie Times, 23 June 2010

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Greens say Northern Energy Corporation’s announcement to shelve Colton Coal Mine is not credible

Posted by Jim on June 4, 2010

The Greens Wide Bay candidate, Dr Jim McDonald, said today that he would believe Northern Energy Corporation had shelved the Colton Coal Mine project when there was evidence that the company had withdrawn its application for a mining licence.

He was commenting on a statement by NEC Managing Director, Keith Barker, on the ABC that the 40% super tax would make the mine non-viable.

Dr McDonald said NEC were grandstanding and attempting to hold the community to ransom.

“The company has reported up to 100 million tons of coal. That is not a marginal investment for a greenfields coalmining company.

“The fact that the Colton Coal Mine had ridden roughshod over the residents of Aldershot shows how seriously they were prepared to commence digging the mine as soon as a mining licence was granted. They glossed over the impact on the health of children living near the mine.

“They didn’t do that for a marginal investment and Mr Barker’s statement does not compute with the company’s latest ASX statement.

“NEC told the ASX in its April report of its intention to extend the resource of hard coking coal and increase the size of the mine development in parallel with the initial establishment of the open-cut mine.

“NEC is blatantly supporting Warren Truss and Tony Abbott and their opposition to the mining tax. Mr Barker has joined in a concerted, self-interested political campaign by the mining industry against the Rudd mining tax.

“The Rudd government had botched the introduction of the tax, and tripped itself up in spin, but the idea of a proper return to the Treasury on Australian resources was correct.”

Dr McDonald said that the State Government should reject the mining lease application. The best result for anyone living within 10 kilometres of the proposed mine is that it should not go ahead at all.

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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 anticipate no Budget joy for Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on May 10, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said that he didn’t expect the budget would bring much joy to the electorate.

He said the Government’s performance so far had left Wide Bay voters in the lurch.

“Where is the improvement of health services? Gympie and Maryborough hospitals need to be upgraded to service the region and take pressure off Nambour Hospital. Mr Rudd’s Health tour bypassed the electorate.

“Public patients in the west of the electorate have to travel to Toowoomba Hospital for some health services.

“This is a ludicrous arrangement that represents a failure of the Rudd and Howard Governments and the State Government.

“The region needs a decent rail system to connect it to the rest of South-east Queensland, but will Mr Swan deliver the necessary infrastructure funds?” he asked

“There is little evidence of planning for the Mary Valley. The ill-conceived Traveston Dam project ripped apart the the Mary Valley. The Federal Government needs to step in and ensure that the region becomes the food bowl for South-East Queensland. The lack of planning means no budget allocation.

“This is an immediate priority for managing food security in the face of climate change. But, the Rudd Government appears to have dropped its bundle on meaningful climate change measures.”

Dr McDonald said that a productive Mary Valley would also provide sorely needed jobs for the region.

“A responsible Budget would take a whole of region approach to sustainable job creation, infrastructure support, and improvement of services.

“There is little evidence of that,” he said.

Media Release 10 May 2009

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