The story of Acland's fight against Stage 3 of New Hope Coal's Acland mine has all the makings of a blockbuster movie: a beautiful setting on the fertile blacksoil Darling Downs, a historic town, an unlikely hero in Glen Beutel who refused to sell out to the coal mine when they bought up the entire town and surrounding small farms.
In 2012, it looked to have a Hollywood ending as well, as the Newman government went to the state election with a promise not to allow the mine to expand.
That, however, was just a small twist in the saga. Minor changes to the mined area mean that the Newman government is now considering approving Stage 3. Now is the time to remind the government. The reasons against the mine expansion are compelling, and the public is still firmly opposed to it.
Please put in a submission to the Coordinator-General on the Environmental Impact Statement - it will only take a minute.
They plan to double the amount of coal that is mined on some of our best farmland and shipped out through the suburbs of Toowoomba, Ipswich and Brisbane. It will lead to 27 more, uncovered trains each week. It will destroy koala habitat and endangered grasslands. It will take precious water out of aquifers and away from surrounding farmers every day. The coal will be shipped overseas and burnt, leading to 1.99 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. It will surround the township of Acland.
We have until the 3rd of March to remind the Queensland Government that this project is bad for us all. Put in a submission here and ask your friends to do the same.
We hope you will stand with us alongside the Oakey Coal Action Alliance and the remaining residents of Acland, asking for a future for Acland that doesn't involve coal.
the six degrees crew
As you may already be painfully aware, yesterday the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the agency with, to quote their website, ‘the fundamental obligation’ of protecting the GBR Marine Park, announced its decision to grant North Queensland Bulk Ports a permit to dump 3 million cubic metres (5-6 million tonnes) of dredge spoil in the Marine Park (and World Heritage Area). The granting followed Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt’s approval of the development application in early December. The permit, under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and the EPBC (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, was the final bureaucratic step for the proposal.
The dumping would be part of the dredging project approved by the Minister, dredging that would be necessary to enable the creation of the world’s largest coal export port at Abbot Point, slap bang in the GBR World Heritage Area and within coo-ee of the Whitsundays.
Coal is, of course, one of the greatest contributors to climate change – and it is that, climate change, which is, as GBRMPA acknowledges, the greatest threat to the Reef…
But we are even further into cloud cuckoo land than that demonstrates.
Yesterday, the same day that the permit was granted, was the final day for public comment on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Strategic Assessment, completed after months of work by GBRMPA and work by the Queensland government. The draft reports released acknowledged that the condition of the Reef south of Cooktown (ie. where the people are) as well as biodiversity throughout the Area, is ‘poor and declining’.
And it doesn’t even stop there. In an even more ironic twist, today (1 February) is the deadline for the Australian and Queensland governments to provide their latest report to the World Heritage Committee (the body with the power to remove ‘world heritage’ status) on what they are doing to improve protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area!
Outrage at what is perceived as, at least, a dereliction of duty by the Federal government and GBRMPA, has been expressed around the world.
NQCC shares this outrage – and, after careful consideration by the Management Committee over the weeks leading up to the decision, has now committed to taking legal action against the granting of the GBRMPA permit.
We will be represented by the Environmental Defenders Office and, much to our delight, GetUp and Fight for the Reef have both kicked off online fund-raising campaigns in support.
NQCC was very closely involved in and instigated much action in the process of public consultation, including participation in GBRMPA-led workshops and surveys, lengthy and detailed submission, social media posts, media interviews, market stalls and rallies. Unfortunately, this, as well as the enormous work of many other conservation organisations and individuals, and the outpouring of concern from hundreds of scientists and the community, made no difference. In the circumstances we felt left with no choice but to take legal action.
To the extent possible, we will keep members informed of the process we are undertaking and, in the meantime, encourage you to help the fighting fund along with a generous donation. (See links above)