Queensland Country Life - 17.11.2010
LANDOWNERS affected by the giant Wandoan mining lease are the latest group of frustrated producers to sign up to the fledgling ‘lock the gates’ campaign in protest at the state government’s inability to objectively assess new projects.
“We’ll be protesting in front of Parliament House next Monday at 1pm,” property owner John Erbacher said. “Farmers have had enough…”
Some three and a half years since Xstrata’s first moves to establish a massive coal mine at Wandoan, Mr Erbacher says affected landowners are getting increasingly “tired and angry” after trusting the state government to look after its interests.
“Sure, this will give 20/30 years financial gain to Treasury but it will destroy food-producing land for countless generations into the future,” Mr Erbacher said.
Mr Armstrong says far less concern is being shown over the risk to the environment, water tables and the health of rural children impacted by the state’s mining bonanza.
“It’s the biggest challenge to face rural Queensland – its industrialisation – for foreign interests,” he said.
“And until (Minister) Robertson and (Premier) Bligh acknowledge that, and stop saying ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ and realise that job re-location is not job creation, the better.
Mr Armstrong contends the state government “is not listening” to rural people, causing growers to implement their own access policies.
“Growers will be refusing to negotiate with companies that won’t guarantee that there won’t be any effects on our aquifers, they won’t be negotiating with any companies that won’t guarantee they won’t use the Land Court and they won’t be negotiating with any companies that won’t guarantee our equity with our banker – through a bond,” he said.
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