MEDIA RELEASE: 13th August
A Parliamentary Inquiry into the Galilee Basin State Development Area (SDA) has thrown doubt over Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney’s plans for rail lines from proposed coal mines in central Queensland to the Abbot Point terminal.
The Queensland government declared the Galilee Basin State Development Area in June so it had the power to buy up property for the coal rail lines.
‘The SDA fails to meet the basic legal test of being in the public interest and should be immediately withdrawn,’ said Dr Moira Williams of the Mackay Conservation Group.
The majority of landholders in the State Development Areaare opposed to it’s declaration and the SDA has now been referred to the State Development Infrastructure and Industry Committee to scrutinise its legality.
‘The SDA is an abuse of power and totally unnecessary. There are existing provisions in the legislation that allow for compulsory acquisition of land to build the rail lines,’ said Ms Williams.
‘It is a heavy handed approach that removes critical protections for landholders in the negotiation process, such as the requirement to negotiate in good faith.’
‘Proponents are yet to gain environmental approvals for their rail projects and have not been required to demonstrate that the projects will proceed in a reasonable timeframe. This leaves landholders in limbo, stuck in a costly and time consuming negotiation process.’
‘We are concerned that the Queensland government is abusing the policy process in order to attract investment in speculative Galilee projects.’
‘Farmers are facing the loss of their farms because Seeney is playing favourites with the mining industry, sidestepping proper approvals and doing the mining companies’ dirty work for them.’
‘Given there are other legal options for acquiring land to build the rail corridors, the Queensland government has failed to justify why the SDA is necessary or in the public interest. It should be revoked,’ said Dr Williams.
Submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry close Thursday 14th August at 4pm. The Committee will deliver a report on the outcomes by the end of October
For more information about the inquiry click here.
You can view Mackay Conservation Group's submission to the inquiry here.
Infrastructure company The Mitchell Group plans for a new coal port at Hay Point, this one using untested barging technologies in the Great Barrier Reef.
Last month the 7.30 Report visited Mackay, speaking with concerned locals including myself and Betty Hobbs from Mackay Conservation Group. Click on the link below to watch the story:
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Sunday was a beautiful Winter's day and the Pioneer River was at its best, high tide, when our group of about sixty history explorers headed off along the Pioneer Promenade. There were 10 viewing stages in the walk from the Forgan Bridge to Hospital Bridge. The viewing areas under the large umbrellas were comfortable places for the group to relax and listen to the history of Cremorne and the Pioneer Bridges.
What events have shaped the health of the Mackay coastline? Mackay Conservation Group are calling on the community to share their stories of fishing, reef, ports and leisure along the Mackay coast...Read more
The Federal government’s decision today to approve Adani’s Carmichael coal mega mine in Western Queensland is blind to the devastation it will cause to water, habitat and the local environment says Mackay Conservation Group.
‘Carmichael will be one of the world’s biggest coal mines and the environmental impacts of the mine as well as associated infrastructure, such as ports and rail, are simply unacceptable,’ said Mackay Conservation Group Co-ordinator Ellen Roberts.
‘The mine will use 12 billion litres of water every year. This water will be pumped from underground sources which are vital to maintaining agriculture and wildlife in this dry environment. There will be drops to the water table ten kilometres from the mine.’
‘The conditions placed on the mine relate to further studies on impact on groundwater and species, which raises concerns that Greg Hunt did not adequately understand the impacts of this mine before making the approval.’
Well just a week after Dudgeon Point coal terminal was cancelled we were shocked to hear out about new plans to barge up to 30 million tonnes of coal from Hay Point.
Coal will be loaded onto uncovered barges, taken 30km out to sea and transferred to ships within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This ‘transhipping’ process has not been used for coal in Australia previously.
Check out this video produced by Getup about transhipping in Indonesia.
Mackay Conservation Group will be opening an art exhibition on Friday 20 June at 5.30pm, featuring work by local artists. If you would like to contribute, please call 4953 0808.
As well as showing off the new office look, Lian Meaney will be unveiling our new window display and there will be wine & cheese aplenty. Look forward to seeing you there!
On March 28 MCG launched legal action against Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt over his decision to approve the dredging and dumping of dredge spoil for the Abbot Point coal terminal. We had our first day in court on 2nd May, in the Brisbane Federal Court with Judge Dowsett sitting for a 'directions hearing', essentially a chance for all parties to propose timelines.