Following a review in the Queensland Land Court today, which set a new hearing date of 7 March 2016, Darling Downs farmer and president of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance Frank Ashman says his livelihood, the local community and Queensland’s rich cropping and pastoral land could be ruined if Stage 3 of the New Acland coal mine was allowed to proceed.
Our future on the farm depends on whether the Stage 3 expansion goes ahead,” said Mr Ashman, whose farm would be just 5-kilometres from the new site.
“If our groundwater is impacted, our livelihoods and future plans would be ruined,” he said.
“I’ve witnessed impacts on the community and in my experience there are a number of people struggling with the impacts of the current mine and the proposed Stage 3 expansion.
“If Stage 3 goes ahead there will be a general turndown of the productivity of businesses within the local community. People will not invest into something that is long-term, such as farming.”
Represented by EDO QLD, Oakey Coal Action Alliance is a community group of local farmers, business people and townspeople fighting to stop the project destroying local people’s health and the area’s rich farmland.
Oakey Coal Action Group is one of 14 objectors to Stage 3 of the project. The Queensland Land Court today heard representations relating to crucial timetabling issues.
EDO Qld CEO and Solicitor Jo Bragg said: “These hardworking Queenslanders have faced over a decade of pressure and inequality from the New Hope coal mine project, which has divided a town and left families uncertain about their future,” she said.
“This new coal expansion project threatens to consume more land of one of Queensland’s richest food bowls, threatens to take groundwater from farms, and compromise the health of locals by further polluting their air with coal dust.”
“This hearing is the community’s chance to present clear evidence to the Court, the government and the public as to why this project is damaging and should not proceed,” Ms Bragg said
Following the hearing, the Queensland Land Court weighs up the costs and benefits of the project and makes a recommendation to the State government.
The Queensland government then has an obligation to consider the recommendation of the Land Court before granting the new mining leases or environmental authority to cover the expansion area.
About proposed Acland Stage 3 coal expansion:
Impacts from the coal mine expansion highlighted by OCAA include:
- disturbance of over 1,300 hectares of strategic cropping land in the Darling Downs;
- drawdown of groundwater aquifers across an area 21 kilometres wide; and
- reduction of air quality for local residents and farmers, many of whom already live with degraded air quality from the current mine’s operations.
OCAA will also bringing evidence to question the extent of the economic benefits New Acland mine claims will result from the expansion.
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