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Kingaroy Coal Mine? No Way!

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The audience at the public meeting held at Kingaroy Town Hall on Tuesday night voted almost unanimously against building a new coal mine on the outskirts of Kingaroy

Moreton Resources' holdings in the area

February 10, 2016

More than 900 people at a public meeting at Kingaroy Town Hall on Tuesday night voted emphatically against a proposed new coal mine near the town.

The meeting was organised by the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group (KCCG) to discuss Moreton Resources’s plan to build an open cut coal mine near Kingaroy.

KCCG President Gary Tessmann, who opened the meeting, said the enormous attendance showed there was great interest and concern about the proposal.

He said the purpose of the meeting was to gather the community’s feedback, which would then be documented and presented to Mining Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and Shadow Mining Minister Andrew Cripps, as well as Moreton Resources and Stanwell Corporation.

Compere John Dalton said all mining companies needed a “social licence” to operate.

“This is granted by the goodwill of the community, and it depends on informed knowledge,” he said.

Mr Dalton then gave a presentation covering what the KCCG knew about the project, which was similar to a presentation the group gave to 100 people at its Annual General Meeting at Taabinga last month.

That presentation caused such alarm that after seeing it, audience members donated $1200 to fund Tuesday night’s Town Hall meeting.

In brief, the KCCG said they believed if the mine goes ahead it would generate unacceptable noise, light, dust and visual pollution that would affect most residences in Kingaroy; and property values would fall as a result.

Other suggested drawbacks included the loss of prime agricultural land, forced property resumptions, potential water pollution issues, a loss of State Government royalties, and impacts on Kingaroy Airport and the Kingaroy Observatory.

Moreton Resources CEO Jason Elks was given a brief opportunity to speak at the meeting, responding to two questions posed by the KCCG and then speaking about the project in general.

In response to the KCCG’s assertion that Moreton would not be able to profitably mine coal at a projected $50 per tonne, Mr Elks said the company had based its projections on information supplied by Access Economics and expert mining consultants, and stood by them.

Answering a question about what social and environmental benefits the mine might bring to the area, Mr Elks said he believed the mine would help generate jobs and growth.

He said a fully operational mine would create between 1000 and 1100 direct and indirect jobs.

Speaking more generally about the project, Mr Elks said Moreton was a small company with about 2400 shareholders, some of them local residents.

He said the project was all about generating economic growth in the region.

After the main KCCG presentation, the meeting then heard from Dennis Cotter, who said he had spent many years valuing rural and rural residential properties in the area.

Mr Cotter said that in his opinion, property values would definitely fall if the mine went ahead.

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann said he also had concerns about the project.

He thought the mine’s proximity to Kingaroy, the airport and rural residential areas was unsuitable; and that the good relationship the South Burnett had with Stanwell Corporation would be damaged if another coal mine began operating in the region.

However, his principal concern was that the proposal had the potential to cause as much division in the community as a proposed wind farm at Cooranga North had caused there.

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said she thought there had been a lot of misinformation about the project before the night’s meeting.

She also thought the company should begin baseline monitoring as soon as possible, so that if the project did proceed its real impacts could be directly measured.

But she reminded the audience that less than 1 per cent of mining proposals ever become mines.

She thought it was unlikely Moreton’s proposal would eventuate, given the project’s proximity to Kingaroy and the many hurdles it would face.

After this, the floor was thrown open to audience members to air their opinions or ask questions.

Almost 20 people took up the offer, voicing concerns covering everything from the mine’s possible effect on local health, aquifers and native wildlife through to its potential impacts on tourism, the need to retain prime agricultural land and the general desire of South Burnett residents to continue enjoying a country lifestyle.

The meeting wound up with a vote by show of hands about whether the community wanted the mine proposal to be scrapped, which drew overwhelming support.

After the meeting Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington chatted with KCCG President Gary Tessmann, Mayor Wayne Kratzmann, compere John Dalton and KCCG Vice-President Damien O’Sullivan

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13 Responses to Kingaroy Coal Mine? No Way!

  1. Roger C

    Its a shame we didn’t see more younger people come along to the meeting. These meetings are a fantastic way for the community to voice their concerns and it would be great to see the younger generation more involved. Only this morning I had a young gentleman tell me he believed the region was dying because us older folks were always opposed to everything ! If only they were prepared to participate in consultation and not just keep their opinion to themselves then complain when nothing ever goes their way!

    • John B

      But is is true most of the older generation were opposed to everything. Where was anyone when Murgon Meatworks shut down? Not one person came to anyone’s aid there. The area is only hanging on because of Swickers. Once it shuts, it will be no different than Murgon. Living in that area for 13yrs taught us one thing, there was no use voicing your opinion if you were young as you’d get the greasy eyes from everyone and the “like what are you doing here attitude”. And that’s how most mates feel. Now once finished school get hell out of there, as there’s no future otherwise.

  2. Dave Ryder

    Take the pensions off those people with their hands up and see if they want the mine or not. Theie time is over. Think of the people that need a job.

    • M.Peters

      Dave, not all older people are Pensioners and they have a wealth of knowledge & experience. Their time is not over, there are jobs to be had if you are prepared to get out of your comfort zone

  3. Bill S.

    I was at the meeting and there were young people there, including one young girl of about 18 who spoke in the forum session and was as much against the mine as everyone else. One thing this story doesn’t touch on were the health statistics the KCCG showed the audience about coal mines located close to towns in the Hunter. These statistics made it clear that apart from all the other problems, living in close proximity to a mine is just about the last thing anyone who values their health would want to do.

  4. Joel P

    I agree with Dave. The South Burnett is not a retirement village, industries and employment are drying up in the area and every time any kind of development or industry shows an interest in coming to our local area there is always a group or two that light their torches and sharpen their pitchforks. We desperately need big industry in our area as unfortunately small business and the rural sector just aren’t enough any more to sustain the local economy.

  5. Graham and Kerry Mandry

    Those who live in Kingaroy should take an interest in what happens to Kingaroy. We left this meeting better informed to make an opinion as to Kingaroy’s future regarding the mine. It is not a NEW mine, just a replacement for the Meandu mine which is coming to the end of its life. Jobs will be only for the setting up of the mine and then the current workers will quite be likely transferred over. So really, very few new jobs , for any great length of time. However, once your health is gone, due to coal dust, heavy metals in the air. ingesting polluted water from our rainwater tanks, however the method of illness derived, mostly you can’t get your health back. Not a risk we want to take. It is good that young ones are commenting regarding this matter, it’s just a shame they didn’t come to meeting to hear others’ concerns and get the full story. We all want jobs but not at ANY cost.

  6. Jack Black

    Unemployment and generational transition is a common problem throughout country Australia, the South Burnett being no exception.

    Has that time come for the South Burnett? A generational shift to a new generation with new ideas and youthful enthusiasm to taking their place in local affairs? Yes, it’s their future, too. Though I would disagree with Dave and Joel’s view on this mine.

    Small business, retail tourism and rural employment will never keep pace with today’s population growth. We need industries that look beyond the farm gate, mining and direct sales of primary products into export markets.

    Australia needs to rebuild a manufacturing base using domestic consumption as a stepping stone to future prosperity. This county has an abundance of resources in agriculture and mining but not the willpower to move beyond a dig-it-up and ship-it-out philosophy necessary to develop a strong and resilient domestic manufacturing base that drives local employment opportunities, skills development and new industries.

    We’re a well-educated people with a developed sense of social and environmental responsibilities, and with the ability to satisfy employment business development and environmental concerns. We need not only a generational transition but a political revaluation of commercial values and industry priorities.

  7. Andrea

    Those people against the mine all walked home and turned on their lights run by solar power then, did they? Or is that what hippie greenies do, to which these people are also opposed? NIMBYs! There are progressive communities who realise that mining and agriculture do mix well. Take a trip to Emerald or Biloela. Beautiful productive country, just less National Party voters.

    • Julie

      Well actually I did go home and turn my lights on and it was powered by a solar and wind hybrid off-grid power system. Totally renewable and powered by the elements. Coal power’s polluting and unrenewable. Biloela isn’t a very good example nor is Emerald! They both are an eyesore!

  8. Jason Elks

    Good to see there is some debate about the subject.

    What is important is that everyone from the community has a chance to have a say, and understand the facts. Facts are important and generally facts are undisputed. Hence if you have the facts, generally you don’t mind to debate or defend them, therefore that would imply you are open to having an open forum where people can seek out the facts, answers and ask questions, generally of those that are proposing the concept, such as a mine, a lot like the MRV proposal. However the fact, and this is an undisputed fact, that the forum on Tuesday was not a presentation of the facts, it was one groups view, of their perceptions and very few actual facts of the project.

    However that is the great democracy we live in, everyone can have a say but it needs to be in a forum and place where people are safe to do so, and hence forums like online, the emails we get, the conversations in the streets, seem to present a lot different views than those apparent facts of the entire town saying no. Now again another fact is, MRV certainly is not of the opinion the town has said NO, a group of directly affect land holders have taken what they believe and presented that opinion. Again, credit to them for having a say and standing up for what they believe in.

    But I will pose a few facts for everyone to consider -

    * The Meandu Mine pit wall and haul roads are approx 5.5km from South Nanango

    * The Meandu Ash Tailing Dams and dam facilities are approx 3.2km from South Nanango

    * The community of Tarong is approx 2.8km from the haul roads of the Meandu mine

    * The Township of Yarraman is approx 5.4km and 4.5km from the Pit wall of Meandu mine

    I have lived in Kingaroy for about 15 years all be it, at the start of the Meandu mine, but the simple fact is, I was not aware of the mass health issues, sickness, and potential fatal consequences to all of those towns, which are closer to a mining operation than that of the MRV proposal. I am just not aware, now that is a fact, I guess to date, even after a very informative meeting held by the KCCG group, I still cant say, I have been presented to one fact that substantiates the claims made in that meeting.

    However each group, each person should have an opinion and be able to express that, so democracy at work, however I can assure those who support us, we will continue based upon facts, all the way through the legislative process that is designed to audit and verify the facts.

    One or two more quick facts for you -

    Land values, Kingaroy residential land value has retracted by 10% and Taabinga by 4.7%, in the years from 2011 to 2014. Now that is Dept of Natural Resources and Mines data, so I am prepared to call that a fact.

    Also based upon the proposed pit location of MRV, the wind drifts heading North, which is where the proposed pit is by BOM accounts and over 38,000 individual data points since approx 1950s would indicate, approx 5-7% of the wind direction blows that way, at approx 10-12km an hour, I would also call a fact.

    I guess the alternate facts we heard on Tuesday Night, was that MRV would devalue land and that 80% of the wind blows straight from the MRV site over the town. No, these just dont seem like facts at all…..

    Just a thought, thanks for your support and whilst we would never ask anyone to unconditionally support our potential operations, we certainly hope you take the time to learn the facts and then make an informed decision.

    On that basis we look forward to your support.

  9. Julie

    You’ve just got to take a look at the crowd in picture above to realise Sth Burnett’s spoken population are in the golden years.

    This area is so behind the rest of the country in so many aspects. Queensland in general is behind.

    Look at the figures and see how this State compares to other States in renewable energy. Wind farms are almost non-existent in Queensland because of the hungry money-for-the-moment government. Keep digging holes and pumping polluting carbons into the air just so spoilt greedy mining persons can get their over-exuberant wages.

    Open up the Cooranga North wind farm. Open up the Crows Nest wind farm. No, it doesn’t create many jobs in the long term. But during the average construction phase – which is minimum three years – it injects millions into the economy of struggling small towns such as these.

    And don’t have the same old set-in-their-ways rednecks try to say wind power has health effects, because worldwide it has been proven that this claim is false.

    Domestic animals live very harmoniously under and around wind farms. Take a leaf out of Victoria’s, South Australia’s, New South Wales and West Australia’s book.

    Do a quick online search people and wake up to the reality that we as Queenslanders are dragging the chain in a embarrassing fact that we don’t compare to those States’ renewable, sustainable energy sources.

  10. Jack Black

    Julie within the next 10 to 15 years this Shire will transition from an ideology built on past views and traditions that shape the South Burnett today to a world seen through youthful eyes. This transition will reshape agriculture, businesses, towns and the very peoples of this shire like no other time in local history. There will be a changing of the guard as time fades to memory today’s worldly views, allowing the hopes and ambitions of a youthful generation to come forth. It was King Canute who set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the tide to halt and not wet his royal feet and robes. Yet continuing to rise, the tide dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person, as will time’s tide change the South Burnett.

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