January 21, 2016
Almost 100 people donated a total of $1200 at the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night to fund a public information forum about the proposed Moreton Resources coal mine.
The donations, which will be used to advertise the forum, followed a presentation by KCCG members about the proposed mine south-east of Kingaroy.
In the presentation, the KCCG said while they doubted the project would go ahead, they were concerned that if it was approved by the State Government, the region – and Kingaroy in particular – would suffer heavy consequences.
These included visual, noise, dust and light pollution from the open cut mine, a slump in property values, job reductions, property resumptions, the loss of prime agricultural land, the loss of up to $7.4 million a year in State Government mining royalties, and impacts on the operation of Kingaroy Airport.
Presenters said Moreton Resources was seeking a “social licence” from residents to build the mine.
But they said none of the potential downsides of the proposal had been discussed in the 11 press releases on the project the company had so far issued.
“Many of the matters we’ve raised would need to be looked at if the project moves to an Environmental Impact stage,” KCCG spokesman John Dalton said.
“But we think it would be better if these were addressed much earlier.
“Coal companies need to develop a social licence to operate in a community. That licence is granted by the goodwill of the community but it must come from a fully informed knowledge of the operation, and an openness by the company to fully explain the most impacting issues.”
The KCCG said members had door-knocked Taabinga Village prior to Tuesday night’s meeting, and had been astonished to find almost two-thirds of residents they spoke to were unaware of the proposed mine.
This made them question how much community support the project really had.
“If the mine is built, Taabinga Village would be around 1.5km from the nearest edge of the mine; Kingaroy Heights 5km; and Kingaroy Town Hall 6km,” the presenters said.
“That is extraordinarily close for a coal mine.”
The KCCG – which was formed to fight Cougar Energy’s trial Underground Coal Gasification plant on the same land – said they were not opposed to the mine in principle, and understood Moreton Resources were following normal commercial practice in exploring the project’s potential.
They also acknowledged the company had rehabilitated the site formerly occupied by Cougar Energy and said they believed Moreton Resources CEO Jason Elks was carrying out his duties as the company’s CEO diligently and effectively.
The group now proposes to hold as public information meeting in Kingaroy on Tuesday, February 9 at a venue yet to be decided.
The KCCG will invite Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington as well as representatives from Moreton Resources and Stanwell Corporation to hear their concerns.
The meeting will be advertised by a bulk mail delivery of leaflets in the Kingaroy area.
“We don’t think many people know about this proposal or if they do, realise the potential downsides it has,” Mr Dalton said.
“Our aim for this meeting is simply to raise awareness about this project in the local community and hopefully get some of our questions answered.”
At the meeting, the KCCG’s executive were re-elected for 2016: Gary Tessmann as President, Damien O’Sullivan as Vice President, Marilyn Stevens as Secretary, Gary Dean as Treasurer and John Dalton as spokesman.
Update 22-Jan-16: The public meeting planned for February 9 will be held at Kingaroy Town Hall at 7:00pm.
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