March 21, 2016
Representatives from the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group (KCCG) met with Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and Queensland Co-ordinator General Barry Broe last week to ensure the State Government was aware of local concerns about the proposed open cut coal mine on the outskirts of Kingaroy.
More than 900 people voted to oppose the mine at a meeting held in Kingaroy Town Hall on February 9, including Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington and South Burnett Mayor Wayne Kratzmann.
The Minister, Co-ordinator General, and a senior policy adviser were presented with a 22-page document containing statements of concern submitted to the KCCG by Kingaroy residents following the meeting.
This document formed the focus of discussion.
KCCG spokesperson John Dalton said government representatives acknowledged the proposed mine was extraordinarily close to the town of Kingaroy, and would have significant dust impacts on residential areas.
They assured the group a rigorous approval process and terms of reference for an Environmental Impact Study would need to account for these issues.
Local farmers John Larsen and Keith Jessen described the productivity of the land proposed for the mine.
Commercial matters such as the apparent lack of any current market for the coal and the prospect of the project being a State Development or Co-ordinated Project were also discussed.
Mr Dalton said the Kingaroy community should be heartened by the State Government’s response and the agreement to meet with the group.
“The Minister acknowledged the views expressed by the community at the forum, and agreed to provide support in the form of assistance in generating community understanding of the approval process,” Mr Dalton said.
“He also agreed to allow KCCG to access Department of Environment staff to meet in Kingaroy and prepare the group for understanding and responding to the approval and EIS process, should the proposal ever reach that stage.
“Although many local people do not believe that the mine will ever get approval because of its poor commercial and environmental prospects, we are determined to make sure the government knows the local context of the proposal, and makes decisions which reflect both local and State priorities.”
Mr Dalton said if the mine ever moved to the approval process, he was hopeful the government would remember the mine has aspects that would require special attention.
“We hope the government may also remember the photo on the cover of our document showing 936 people in Kingaroy Town Hall voting against the mine,” Mr Dalton said.