Residents and business owners of the Ipswich Region might feel a sense of relief with Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining, declaring that “there have been no approvals for large scale commercial mining on the area” (letter Courier Mail 29/12/2011).
Ursula Monsiegneur, Greens Candidate for the seat of Ipswich West, is not convinced, but believes Mr Hinchliffe is treating the residents and business owners of the Ipswich Region with contempt.
“Both the Premier Anna Bligh and Premier hopeful Campbell Newman have publicly declared their support for the current ‘to-hell-with-the-outcome’ type of growth in the mining industry” Mrs Monsiegneur said.
Mrs Monsiegneur added that the Greens are not totally anti-mining, but support a commonsense and sustainable approach. “We need resources but we need farming land, clean air and water too,” she said.
“Mr Hinchliffe claims that some people are making misleading public comments and deliberately trying to alarm residents, but I believe the Ipswich Region community is justified in being angry about the lack of community consultation that should be done before mining begins.” Mrs Monsiegneur said.
“Mr Hinchliffe says he believes in community consultation, but before announcing the re-opening of the Ebenezer coal mine ( ML4712) this was NOT a current mining lease. As a matter of fact, it had lapsed three years earlier. Sterling Hinchliffe signed off on its renewal, and back-dated it by three years to make it legal, meanwhile knowing that he had an appointment with a local delegation from the Rosewood Ebenezer Against Mining Group scheduled a few days later. The community has been against the renewal of the lease at Ebenezer since first hearing about it,” Mrs Monsiegneur said.
“To make this matter worse, we are constantly re-assured by the Minister that no approval has yet been given for the extension of this mine into the adjoining MDL172.Yet on 11 January 2012, in an ASX Announcement, Mr Tan from OGL Resources asserts that the company intends ‘to bring the Ebenezer Mine into production and for the development of the Bremer View Mining Development Licence Project.’ His statement implies that OGL Resources is working on the expectation that not only the current mine, but its expansion along the MDL will proceed,” Mrs. Monseigneur said.
“Minister Hinchliffe claims to share the frustration experienced by local residents, but the current legislation does not address the concerns of the people who live in the region, and for whom this issue is a real source of stress. What is needed, is changes to the laws that give these companies the right to trample over the aspirations of individuals and communities” Mrs Monsiegneur said.
“The current laws are not working. Companies do not and can not repair the damage they have done to the environment and the communities they affect. Biodiversity and koala corridors will not stop this development because the federal Minister for the Environment is refusing to list the koala as a threatened species,” she said.
“The current ‘off-set’ legislation that Minister Hinchliffe refers to will simply allow the company to plant some Swamp Tea-Tree somewhere else and claim they have ‘off-set’ the damage,” she said.
“The time to stop the Ebenezer mine was prior to its lease having been renewed, with a signature on their lease and ineffective legislation that does not protect the interests of anyone but the miners, this project will go ahead” Mrs Monsiegneur said.
“Labor and the LNP cannot be trusted and will make any claim to get votes, but neither party has plans to instigate any change that will see the rights of individuals and communities strengthened against the mining companies. This change will only be achieved by the Greens: a third political force with a demonstrated commitment to its core values in the Queensland Parliament” Mrs Monsiegneur said.
Queensland Greens Candidate