Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jondaryan air pollution

 MEDIA RELEASE

25th May 2014

Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc, and Clean Air Queensland

 

Jondaryan Monitoring Confirms Health Fears.

 Residents of Jondaryan now have on-line access to hourly pollution readings, after more than three years lobbying by the community groups Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) and Clean Air Queensland (CAQ), their members and supporters.

OCAA spokesperson explains further: ‘We have contacted everyone ;from local MP’s, medical organisations, Toowoomba Regional Council, to Premiers and Prime Ministers. Finally in March this year a new Government monitor was installed at a site in Jondaryan of our choosing. It was crystal clear to us that Governments had been more concerned about the revenue from mining than they are about health implications to communities close to mines or transport corridors’.

 

The high readings for particulate matter (PM 10) and total suspended particles (TSP) at Jondaryan1 vindicate the unrelenting opposition to New Hope Coal and its practices. Elevated readings were well above the Australian Standard of 80ug/m3 for TSP and 50 ug/m3 for PM 10. Pollution can arise from sources such as road works and fires, but the most abundant sources are coal dust and diesel use, such as from the trains and bulldozers operating at Jondaryan. In December last year a study by CAQ showed peak pollution as high as 6000ug/m3 occurred at Jondaryan2.

 

 New Hope Coal is currently seeking approval by the Queensland Government for a Stage 3 expansion of the Acland mine that residents’ state will compound all the current impacts, such as dust, blast tremors, noise and coal train pollution.

 

‘The coal mining and handling methods used by this mob are far from best practice, as these measurements show. Coal stockpiles and trains should be covered and coal dumps should be located many kilometres from residences’ says Michael Kane from CAQ. ’Veneering is just a hairspray for coal and it is not working. If the expansion gets a green light New Hope will most likely cry poor to the Government and say it is too expensive to build the promised spur line away from Jondaryan, due to low coal prices. We have shown coal dust levels are extreme. This disregard of communities on the Downs or along the rail corridor to the Port of Brisbane  is especially outrageous at a time the medical profession is telling us with increased urgency about the serious health impacts of coal’

 

This week a new report ‘Cleaning the Air’ by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) was released amidst calls for binding national air pollution laws3. The report confirms that air pollution in Australia is inadequately regulated, monitored and enforced, Federal leadership is lacking, the States are not enforcing existing laws and as a result more than 3,000 Australians are dying a premature death every year.

This report is timely and accurate as we think district has put up with enough. This company should be investigated properly, by an independent body not receiving donations from New Hope or their affiliates. There are vulnerable families with children and the elderly living near the stockpile and mine. They cannot move and we know a few who are unwell. We dread to think what pollution even more families will need to cope with if the Stage 3 expansion is given the green light and coal output increases again.’

 

For further details:

  1. Jondaryan air monitoring
  2. Peak pollution Jondaryan
  3. Environmental Justice Australia report



 

            

 

 

 

Jondaryan Air Pollution Measurements for Total Suspended Particles (TSP). Small particle pollution (PM 10) is often also elevated above Australian Recommended Standards. May results (top) and April (below).

Upcoming Events

Four events on the Horizon:

1. Anzac day. Acland Anzac ceremony is on at 10 am Tom Doherty Park, 25th April, with a delicious morning tea under the trees to follow.

2. Felton Food Festival, Sunday 27th April , Bryce’s Rd Felton. This is the third festival and promises to be another great day in a beautiful setting. Festival info here

3.High Tea for Koalas. Held at Sugarloaf Farmstay near Kingsthorpe, to raise funds for ‘Return to the Wild Inc’, the Darling Downs koala rescue centre. Date May 7th 10-12. Ring Jeanette 46301109.

4. Celebrating our Environment Expo, 4th June at USQ, where you can meet and chat with OCAA members.

env expo 2014

 

 

 

 

Alternative plan for Acland

                                              5 March 2014

 New Acland Report provides Alternative Vision for Darling Downs

 A new report by energy consultant Trevor Berrill (Acland Sustainable Energy Plan) provides alternatives to the proposed New Hope Acland Mine expansion. In the report, Berrill outlines a solution to the development of solar PV electricity farms on non-strategic cropping land. This would result in income for communities from both farming and electricity generation.

 In the Berrill Report for Acland:

  • Strategic cropping land is fully preserved, protecting agriculture.
  • Solar PV farming is developed, creating more than 180 full-time jobs directly and indefinitely, when combined with farming and tourism jobs. This contrasts with short term jobs from mining booms.
  • A large-scale solar PV farm could potentially produce about $800,000 of income each year to land holders from the 750 hectares of solar farming land identified in the report.
  • This alternative preserves Darling Downs cropping soils, the Great Artesian Basin and Murray Darling Basin. It provides certainty for local communities, who have experienced community destruction, dust and noise impacts for over a decade.

 

‘This is exactly the type of proposal the State Government needs to take seriously.’ said Toby Hutcheon, Executive Director of Queensland Conservation

‘Renewable energy is the future. It is clean and offers huge potential, particularly for regional economies. The draft Queensland Plan also supports the increased uptake of renewable energy.’

 For more Information:

Trevor Berrill: Sustainable Energy Systems Consultant  

Report available at:

http://www.solarissustainablehomes.com.au/reports-free-downloads

(this was a media release by Queensland Conservation )

Koalas, Coal and community collide.

koala small

 

There are only few koalas (including a baby) that are surviving in the Acland district and they are regarded as at grave risk of extinction according to Oakey residents. We explain:

Koalas have always lived at Acland. The now closed Acland State School, even used the koala as a school emblem on their banner and newsletters. They live in their favourite Poplar Box trees which are dispersed right over the New Hope Stage 3 mining lease area, but are frequent visitors to other tree types found across thousands of hectares of Acland land .

New Hope Coal were sent back to the drawing board by the Queensland Government in November 2012 after the LNP’s election promise to stop the original Stage 3 project.  The company were instructed to submit a new Terms of Reference for the revised project by the Queensland Coordinator General because it was a substantially altered proposal.

This is a different project to the original Stage 3.And the koala was listed as ‘vulnerable’ in May 2012 according to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, before the New Hope Group re-applied for this modified project. This mob, who state they are a proud Australian company, are trying to use a legislative technicality to avoid having to put in place any meaningful conservation measures to protect the local Koala population. They have claimed their Environmental Impact Statement need address only issues of National significance that were listed on or before 2007.

Many koalas have been killed by trucks on the haul road to the mine, yet Acland is an area which is remarkably free of the other major threats faced by Koalas in urban areas, such as dog attack. The impending massive land clearing and increased mine traffic is now the greatest risk to the local population’s survival.

 Despite their extensive advertising campaign promoting themselves as part of the local community, New Hope’s  actions indicate quite the contrary. They are prepared to do only the bare minimum to contribute towards local environmental values and the long term sustainability of our region. Our group will use every resource we have to protect these few remaining Acland koalas. We will not stand by and watch one koala tree be destroyed or any more koalas put at risk for the sake of a rich city-based company profiting from coal. We are sure many other Australians will join us.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Public submission period for Stage 3 is with us

Please read the following for information about the EIS. Hopefully we will be able to provide a link to a site soon where a simple one or two step submission is possible. Stay tuned!

Don’t be daunted by the process or the Government preamble below. It is designed to confound and confuse the public so fewer people try, but other ways of making submissions are possible, including hand writing. It is still a legal submission if you don’t use their preferred form or if you don’t sign your email copy. Just get your thoughts down and sent them in. Please contact us for any assistance. We will be having extra meetings in this period to help.

Making a submission for the Stage 3 EIS New Acland Expansion

Access Coordinator Generals Office webpage info about submissions and forms: http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/new-acland-coal-mine-stage-3-expansion.html

This will direct you to New Hope’s website to access EIS or Executive Summary

http://www.aclandproject.com.au/

Submissions close at 5pm on 3 March 2014.

How to make a submission

1. Read the draft EIS

  • Read the fact sheet on making a submission ( 388 KB), and
  • complete the draft EIS submission form ( 247 KB).

    If you have special communication needs and wish to make a submission, telephone

    the EIS project manager on +61 7 3452 7433 to make alternative arrangements.

    3. Send your submission

    Send your completed and signed submission form to one of the following:

    Email: newaclandproject@coordinatorgeneral.qld.gov.au This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Post:
    The Coordinator-General
    c/- EIS project manager – New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 project
    Coordinated Project Delivery
    Office of the Coordinator-General
    PO Box 15517
    City East Qld 4002 Australia

    Fax: +61 7 3452 7486

    Read more about making a submission on a draft EIS

    The EIS must contain all the information needed to address the

    Terms of Reference (TOR) for the project, including a comprehensive Social Impact Assessment  and the proposed mitigation actions.

    From the Factsheet for making a submission :

Checklist

When making a submission:

 clearly state the matter(s) of concern or interest and list points to help with clarity

 reference the relevant section(s) of the draft EIS

 provide factual information relied upon and its source

 describe the measure you consider would be appropriate to improve the proposal

 provide sketches or diagrams if they assist to clarify your submission

 ensure your submission is legible.

Note: Under section 157O of the SDPWO Act, it is an offence to give the Coordinator-General a document that contains information known to be false or misleading.

For a submission to be ‘properly made’ under the SDPWO Act, it must:

 be made to the Coordinator-General in writing

 be received on or before the last day of the submission period

  • be signed by each person who makes the submission

 state the name and address of each person who makes the submission

 state the grounds of the submission and facts and circumstances relied on.

Note: Under the SDPWO Act, the Coordinator-General may accept a submission that is not a ‘properly made’ submission. However, to ensure you have appeal rights under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, your submission must be ‘properly made’.

For more information about this consultation, contact the Office of the Coordinator-General on:

email newaclandproject@coordinatorgeneral.qld.gov.au

From OCAA:  How to complete the submission form:

This is like our TOR submission early in the year. You don’t have to follow this table exactly but they suggest the following format

        1. Section of the EIS
        2. Describe the issue
        3. Suggested solution

          They show a sample submission page, (see below).

          Download the draft EIS submission form and add extra pages as you need.

          The Coordinator General is permitted by law to collect personal information.

          Social Impact Assessment and other important stuff

          This is a requirement of coordinated projects

          The Guidelines for SIA are found here http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/resources/guideline/social-impact-assessment-guideline.pdf

          The Social Impact Assessment is found in Chapter 16 of the EIS.

          The Social Impact Management Plan is found in Appendix J 14 of the EIS

          The Appendix J is very important to look at and comment on- besides SIMP it has rehabilitation plans, air emissions and water management plans, biodiversity offsets, the Heritage Colliery Management Plan etc etc

      • Take stock of what OCAA has and is achieving. We have everyone to thank for this-members, other groups, family and external experts. It is a group effort, so well done to everyone and thank you! Stay well and let us know if you need any help.
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Grazing trials at Acland

A recent letter sent to local media:

‘Home brand’ not ‘world class’ grazing trials.

Dear Editor

We are concerned farmers, community members or scientists who are appalled by the Acland grazing trial claims by New Hope Coal.

We have all witnessed the devastation of a town, a local farming community and a local agricultural based economy in nearby Oakey. We have watched this company roll out a media campaign in recent months with the sole aim of gaining Government approval for a large scale open cut mine which should never be allowed in a rich farming area of the inner Downs. Farmers and scientists alike are disgusted at the media hype surrounding a single ‘homebrand’ grazing trial conducted in 2012, without independent or academic supervision, peer review or publication.

We now listen to Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise group stating this rehabilitation is ‘world class’. Their spokesperson, Jo Shepherd, has clearly little concept of what this means- there are no pre and post mining soil tests available, no methodology and raw data available for scrutiny, no organic matter tests or microscopic or chemical soil analysis, no chemical residue tests of meat or organ tissue of animals grazed, no long term grazing trial results of maintained grazing AT COMMERCIAL GRAZING PRESSURES. This same single trial has been serially  publicised by the company since 2012 as ‘needing repeating to verify results’ (because it so faulty control cattle lost weight) to ‘showing promise’ to ‘showing that Acland mined land can be grazed or even cropped in the future’ to ‘will be better than before’ and now ‘world class’. The closer to the date of the release of the EIS, the more wondrous seem the results.

Rehabilitation in Queensland is a serious issue, and governments- through poor regulation and lack of enforcement- are allowing a toxic legacy for future generations. There are 15000 abandoned mines in Queensland and no fully rehabilitated mines- including New Hope’s other tenements. As coal prices fall or reserves are depleted companies will walk away from their commitments and receive little more than a fine and a slap on the wrist. This mine at Acland will be no different. It is estimated there is $4 billion in unpaid fines due to the Queensland Government for non-compliance with mine rehabilitation.

Scientists have told us what they are doing at Acland are the same crude methods employed in the central Queensland for the past 20 years. Stockpile the few inches of topsoil and spread it back again after mining, have a trial patch lightly grazed which shows that a few cattle manage for 90 days and preferably film a man and a horse with the said cattle for PR purposes. Look at the Moranbah district moonscape from air and judge for yourself the real environmental impacts.

The only ‘world class’ aspects of this New Hope grazing trial are the media spin and depths of deception that have accompanied it. Our communities deserve scientific rigour as well as journalists who are prepared to see beyond propaganda to ask questions. New Hope must now publish their trial methodology and data for the public to review and be able to draw their own conclusions.

Oakey Coal Action Alliance Executive (John Cook (Pres), Dr Reg Pascoe (sec), Dr Nicki Laws, Carole Wieck, Peter Faulkner) Jim Leggate (Ecologist and former Mine Environmental Regulator), Dr John Standley (Soil and Plant Scientist)

For further reading and response from New Hope follow this link to Toowoomba Chronicle report:

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/activists-unhappy-with-new-hopes-home-brand-trials/2135250/

 

 

 

 

World Environment Day June 2nd 2013

OCAA were in attendance at the very wet Lake Annand Park in Toowoomba. Thanks to Kylie for all her efforts on the day. Brochures were handed out, wildlife photographs of Acland were on display and many conversations were had.

Thanks to those who attended and came along and asked questions. We are always appreciative when people stop and engage with us. Even if your opinions differ from ours, it is healthy to debate, discuss the pros and cons and hear all sides of the argument, after all.

We think that people in the city are no different to us, but the problems of mining and CSG are just not in their faces on a day to day basis like they are for those living with mining leases over their farms or land of their families or friends. All Australians want good clean food, with a known provenance. We want our rich agricultural heritage to remain and its biodiversity to be there for our kids or grandkids.

See you at WED in 2014!

 

Save Cecil Plains Rally against CSG

A number of our group attended this rally held on the 27th April 2013, amidst the cotton paddocks of the iconic black soil plains of Cecil Plains. We were happy to lend support to our friends from SODD including Ruth Armstrong, Graham Clapham and Stuart Armitage and families.

These farms are breath taking in the scope of their fertility and productivity. This is precision agriculture at its absolute best and it was beyond understanding of every one of the 450 attendees at the rally why it was even necessary to be there to defend it. What does this State Government not get? These are serious, profitable and sustainable businesses. These farmers are doing the job they do almost better than anyone else in the world, because their climate, soil and underground water allow it. Why should our elected governments kowtow to foreign businesses like Arrow Energy anyway? They seem to fail to understand the depth of concern for our precious aquifers and for the long term future of communities like Cecil Plains.

It’s the same movie as Acland, just with different actors. Acland is an open cut horror show, while permitting CSG on fertile farmland like Cecil is likely to be a drawn out death by a thousand cuts. The Government is abrogating responsibility for their citizens and future generations for short term gain. Dumb and Dumber…

 

 

 

Heartland and Heroes High Tea

Thank you to all who attended this great event, which was AO was our guest of honour and he spoke of his early years growing up on an Acland district farm and attending Acland State School before completing his secondary education in Toowoomba. What a lot he has achieved in his lifetime; as a teacher, Australian Wallabies Coach and now one of Australia’s most listened to radio broadcasters. He has a phenomenal recall of growing up in the Oakey district with its busy farming life and strong community spirit, perhaps best exemplified by the huge effort required to rebuild Acland following its near total demolition after a 1952 tornado, said to be one of Australia’s worst inland storms. Alan described the boiling green sky and the loss of precious water tanks on his family dairy farm.

Acland still has the same strong community spirit. It has survived the wrecking ball of New Hope Coal so far and the company’s  intent to undermine the entire township, shifting its War Memorial and demolishing its heritage listed colliery. A new virtual community exists at Acland -minus the houses and gardens, the shouts and laughter of children in the school yard perhaps- but with the same determination to face adversity and rebuild in the face of almost impossible odds!

Thank you to Ray Hopper, MP and Mayor and Mrs Antonio who  attended the High Tea with Councillors Sommerfield and Glasheen. A special thanks to Bronwyn and volunteers of the lovely Rosalie Gallery, the press and filmmakers who attended and the colourful Knitting Nanas from Northern NSW. It was nice to see all the older Acland residents enjoying the amazingly delicious cakes, sandwiches, pies and petit fours provided by OCAA. The verdict:  our country towns are worth protecting and there is no match for country cooks!IMGP1221

 

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