At a hastily convened Landcare meeting yesterday, around 100 landholders affected by the proposed Tarong Coal mine on the Haystack Plain called on the Queensland government to protect iconic farmlands from mining development.
Landcare Project Officer Nevin Olm said: “It is good enough for the government to protect the iconic Daintree and other natural areas, why is it not good enough for them to protect our world renowned fertile floodplains. On the Haystack Plain, we have been growing crops to feed the nation for over 100 years, and we can sustainably continue for 1000 years. Yet Tarong Coal wants to displace landholders off the best of the best land in our state, for a one off windfall gain that will see one of our iconic floodplains ruined forever.”
The meeting was attended by state MP’s, regional council representatives, Agforce representatives, representatives of federal members, and concerned community members.
Tarong representatives at the meeting apologized for the way in which landholders had been informed by a letter containing the decision last Monday with no prior advice or consultation, and the fact that the Haystack Road deposit had always, until Monday, been referred to as the Glen Wilga deposit which was misleading.
Jeff Bidstrup, group spokesperson said, “A recent UN report that states that farmers will need to grow as much food in the next 50 years as we have produced in the last 10, 000 years, yet we have a government corporation about to rip the heart out of our community and one of the nations most productive food bowls for short term gain. All this to sell coal in an era when CO2 emissions are rising alarmingly.”
The meeting went on to pass a motion calling on the Liberal National Party, if elected, to rescind any Mining Development Leases and mining licences on iconic farmlands, and retrospectively rescind those licences on iconic farmlands where mining has not yet commenced. It was agreed that society needs to urgently take responsibility for the decisions of such magnitude where food security is traded for a short term benefit of one off resource exploitation.
Geoff Hewitt, a local farmer not affected by this mining development said: “We need as a society to put a stop to the practice of destroying iconic farmlands forever in the mad rush for coal dollars. Trading off long term food security for short term government income, at the same time, accelerating global warming, is very bad policy. We are selling off our kids’ food security, this is generational selfishness taken to a whole new level.
There is an urgent need for a review of the policies that allow a state government to grant a corporation it owns the right to destroy a community and some of Australia’s most productive farmland.”
Brigalow-Jimbour Floodplains Group Inc
26th September 2008