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Mixed news for Queensland’s environment: Big Day for election campaign

Events during the past week have shown how desperate and out-of-touch both Labor and the LNP are on the issues that is set to define the next state election – the social and environmental impacts of mining.

Greens spokesperson Dr Libby Connors said nowhere is this demonstrated better than LNP leader, Campbell Newman, announcing he would protect the Scenic Rim against coal and coal seam gas mining.

‘Mr Newman seems to have forgotten that the electorate would like to hear a clear, coherent and principled policy statement not bland promises to look after electorates he is interested in winning,’ Dr Connors said.

‘Mr Newman would not even be doing this except that his party’s pro-mining, anti-farmer stances have outraged much of the LNP’s traditional constituency.

‘Queenslanders wanting to see our food bowls, underground water and environmentally sensitive areas protected from mining are not waiting around for either Labor or the LNP to deal with the issue. They are standing up to coal and coal seam gas companies and withdrawing their social licences to operate and they are looking to the Greens to help.’

Dr Connors said this strategy was working. The last week had already seen:

  • Chinese coal company Shenhuo abandon their application for coal exploration over the Felton Valley. This was a major embarrassment for the Labor Government highlighting the weakness of its proposed strategic cropping land legislation.
  • On the same day that Shenhuo withdrew, there was announcement in loca lmedia of the construction of a new coal terminal at Port Alma. Port Alma is on the southbank of the Fitzroy River and a Gladstone Ports Corporation development.

‘Given the environmental disaster currently being played out in the waters of Gladstone Harbour it is perhaps not surprising that the Port Alma announcement was confined to regional media.

‘Just this week leaked government documents have been circulating among environment groups that show Minister Wallace’s re-opening of Gladstone harbour was based on flawed science and lacked any scientific rigour.

‘It confirms the Greens’ position that Wallace should have resigned over his poor handling of the public health issues given the tonnage of diseased fish and sharks that have been caught since re-opening the harbour.

‘So it has been a day when both major parties have been caught out – they are both having trouble responding to community sentiment because of their close connections to the mining sector.

‘Policies on coal and coal seam gas are shaping up as the defining issues of this election campaign but only the Greens have been consistent on this issue.

‘Queensland voters will have to vote for a minor party if they want a moratorium to debate how much and where coal and coal seam gas development should take place across the state.’

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