Category Archives: Media and publications

“New Hope AGM: Shareholders told to think of farmers.”

Article from the Queensland Times, published by Joel Gould on 19th Nov 2015

“THINK of the farmers, not the shareholders.

“That was a key message of more than 30 protesters outside the Ipswich Civic Centre yesterday as the New Hope Group AGM went on inside.

Photo by Rob Miles, copyright Queensland Times 2015.

Photo by Rob Miles, copyright Queensland Times 2015.

The concerned community members are opposed to New Hope’s planned expansion of stage three of the Acland mine on the Darling Downs and the proposed Colton mine on the Mary River, both of which they say will have devastating results for farmers, landholders and communities.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Kate Dennehy said there was a lot at stake for the community near the Acland mine.

“The concern for the Acland farmers is that a lot of them put money into their properties when the ALP and LNP both said stage three would not go through, but now it seems to be going through,” she said.

“The only choice they have now is to take it to the land court which is most unfair.

“They are trying to run their properties and at the same time they are up against the might of Clayton Utz lawyers who will be fighting to get this mine through. The farmers are going to lose their water resources, livelihoods and farms.

“Our message we are trying to send to the AGM shareholders is to think of the farmers before you vote to proceed with these coal mines which are a thing of the past.

“Instead of the shareholders thinking about what is going into their pockets, think of what is coming out of the farmers’ pockets.

“The way forward for Australia is renewables where there are more jobs.”

A fact sheet put out by Lock the Gate claimed that the proposed Acland expansion would result in the loss of more than 1300 hectares of strategic cropping land, cause drawdown in groundwater aquifers of up to 47m in some locations, worsen noise and air quality and impact negatively on threatened species, along with other adverse impacts.

The farmers who will be impacted by the Acland expansion were meeting their lawyers yesterday.

“The farmers involved in the land court case to do with Acland stage three wanted to be here today, but they and their lawyers could only get together on this day at this time,” Ms Dennehy said.

“But they have sent their support for us and our grateful for what we can do to get their message out.”

A New Hope Group spokesperson said the company respected the rights of people to express their views.

The spokesperson said that the protest by what it called activist groups appeared to be part of a wider campaign to stop the Australian coal industry.

“Our door is always open for anyone to come and talk to us about any issues they may have in a sensible and constructive way,” the spokesperson said.

Clancy Morrison of the 350.org, a worldwide climate change organisation was on hand to lend his voice to the protest.

“Our mandate is to solve the global climate crisis and a big part of that is keeping fossil fuels in the ground,” he said.

“Obviously New Hope is keen to dig up more than they have been and that is something we are keen to put a stop to.”

John Ingram, an anti-coal activist who wants to see the economy depend less on coal, said “over 80% of the royalties will not go to the Queensland Government”

“They will go to the owners of the property, which happen to be the mine.

“So the mine will be paying itself a majority of the royalties,” he said.”

COAL DUMP MUST CLOSE

MEDIA RELEASE

OAKEY COAL ACTION ALLIANCE INC  and CLEAN AIR QUEENSLAND

NEW HOPE IN BREACH OF REGULATIONS. COAL DUMP MUST CLOSE

                                                                           August 21th 2014

It is official; air pollution at Jondaryan is regularly exceeding national and International health standards. This includes total suspended particles (fine suspended dust or TSP) and small particulates (PM10).  Both these measures prove serious ongoing pollution arising from the huge New Hope Coal stockpile next to the railway line, at levels known to be injurious to health.

A complaint has been lodged with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Premier and the Health Minister by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, on behalf of those residents of Jondaryan who are suffering ongoing health symptoms due to the proximity of the coal dump to their homes.

The President of OCAA, explains: ‘The Government is well aware of more than a decade of complaints about this controversial coal dump. After relentless pressure they finally agreed to install and conduct a real time air monitoring study for 12months. This new monitor is located close to homes and reads hourly wind direction and particulate pollution (unlike New Hope’s own recording which they measure twice a year in favourable wind conditions, or monthly with cruder funnel type monitors). This sophisticated and accurate real-time monitor has been operational since March this year and every month since we are seeing pollution levels in great excess to Australian Health Standards. On most days of each month Jondaryan air quality is worse than any other place in Queensland. This includes Gladstone, Moranbah and Mt Isa.’

Clean Air Queensland convenor, Mr Michael Kane agrees; ‘This Government must act on this chronic pollution problem. There is now irrefutable evidence that this facility is breaching the Environmental Authority set by DEHP as well as Health Standards that have to be met even by third world countries, let alone developed nations like Australia. There is no point in having these standards if community health is ignored. Our organisation is well aware of people in this town suffering respiratory symptoms, breathlessness, headaches and sleep deprivation. There are days when simple physical tasks are impossible. These homes are virtually worthless and people live in a coal fog on some days and nights, especially in easterly winds which blow over the stockpile.’

New Hope Coal and its parent company Washington Soul Pattison has been in the news regarding more than $700,000 donations to the State and Federal LNP. The OCAA says it is ironic that a leading pharmaceutical and health brand thinks nothing about creating dangerous public health problems on the Darling Downs.

‘They want to expand this mine, and the new coal dumps they keep promising away from Jondaryan are just as bad. One 200,000 tonne, 21metre high dump will be closer to families with children than this current monstrosity,’ OCAA spokesperson said.

Clean Air Queensland and Oakey Coal Action Alliance are united in saying: ‘It is time the Jondaryan coal dump was shut. Premier Newman and the LNP are on notice to put family’s health ahead of  corporate donations.’

   Links Jondaryan Air Quality Government Monitoring

Figures; Jondaryan Air Quality (for August 2014 and monthly averages) from new Government monitor located near residences. Seven days of this month have shown excess levels of air pollution (above the red line)

 

 

New Acland Mine Economic Claims are on Shaky Ground

MEDIA RELEASE 13th Dec 2013

Oakey Coal Action Alliance executive have welcomed the recent Australia Institute critique of New Hope Coal’s Acland mine economic claims, called ‘Biting the land that feeds you. The economics of the New Acland Coal Mine.’ John Cook, newly elected President of the community group formed several years ago in opposition to the Acland Stage 3 expansion, agreed with the report which highlights the lack of local or regional benefits from mining at Acland. ‘We hear frequent first-hand accounts of the adverse economic impacts of this mine. It brought about the closure of an entire township and many farms and this has drawn the lifeblood from the surrounding district. Farming, families, schools and allied small businesses mean jobs and cash flow in the local economy. The jobs lost from Acland and district are not matched by the number of mine employees now, nor what is claimed if expansion is approved’ he said.

The Australia Institute is an independent public policy think tank, whose researchers have previously drawn attention to the adverse economic impacts of Clive Palmer’s China First mine in the Galilee Basin and the Warkworth mine in NSW. They say that resource industry job estimates are grossly exaggerated, particularly when secondary jobs are calculated. They state that these indirect job calculations are described as biased by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Productivity Commission and yet resource companies like New Hope Coal continue to use them.

They were especially critical of New Acland Coal’s cost benefit analysis conducted for the 2009 Stage 3 Environmental Impact Statement. It failed to consider the lost agricultural income and the costs to the community in closed businesses, lost retail and health impacts. Report authors Rod Campbell and Mark Ogge said all these impacts should be taken into account when mine expansions are assessed, not just substitute jobs and wages.

From pit to port, the Acland mine has been a controversial project since its 2001 beginnings. Acland is one of the few coal mines in the inner Downs, and which was a closely knit rich agricultural district boasting 70 dairy farms. The buy up and clearing of the Acland town and surrounding farms many years before  further mining had been granted approval has subsequently been in the media spotlight for a range of health and social impacts.

‘There are much bigger employers in the Oakey district than this mine’ adds John Cook ‘Fortunately many people see through New Hope’s recent round of donations for what they are; purely a ploy to get Stage 3 approval. These handouts cannot undo the environmental, social and economic harm this mine has already caused. It is high time that Governments listened more closely to what Queensland communities need for a healthy, sustainable and productive future.’

To read this informative report follow this link:

http://www.tai.org.au/content/biting-land-feeds-you

 

Peak Pollution off the scale at Jondaryan

Community monitoring draws national attention to coal health hazard

Clean Air Queensland Alliance

 Clean Air Queensland, an alliance of community groups including OCAA, recently announced the results of their community air quality monitoring study at the Jondaryan stockpile, to coincide with a feature report on the national program The Project.

Using industry-standard air quality monitoring equipment, members of Clean Air Queensland monitored particle pollution levels beside the coal stockpile. The equipment measures respirable particles of ten microns in diameter (PM10). With expert assistance to deploy the monitoring equipment and analyse the data, Clean Air Queensland has launched their report ‘Off the Scale: Peak pollution events at the Jondaryan coal stockpile’.

The report reveals that PM10 pollution levels in the area, just 550 metres from the nearest home in Jondaryan, peak at over 6000 micrograms per cubic metre. This is compared to the national standard of 50 micrograms per cubic metre over a 24 hour average.

“Particulate pollution causes asthma, lung cancer and respiratory illnesses, and has recently been classified by the World Health Organisation as a carcinogen. It’s time for the Queensland Government to start protecting the health of our communities,” epidemiologist Dr Andrew Jeremijenko said.

“Coal dust is a major source of particulate pollution, which kills more Australians each year than car crashes. We’ve found evidence of regular extreme peaks in particulate pollution at the stockpile and we’re concerned about the health impact this is having on local residents. Families here, and all along the coal dust corridor to the port in Brisbane, are being impacted by coal dust,” Clean Air Queensland spokeswomen Hannah Aulby said.

The Queensland Government is supporting plans to double the amount of coal travelling from Jondaryan through Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane suburbs to the port. Coal dust is a serious health hazard at current levels, and any expansion plans will put more families and communities living along the coal dust corridor at risk,” said OCAA president Peter Faulkner.

“We’re calling on the Queensland Government to take this health concern seriously. We need a commitment to cover the coal trains and stockpiles, and stop any increases in uncovered coal train traffic through Brisbane,” Ms Aulby concluded.

OCAA representatives recently met with the Premier, Environment Minister and Mining Minister. Mr Newman stated his commitment for real time monitoring for coal  impacted Queensland communities.

The Qld ALP passed a motion to cover coal trains and stockpiles, and stop any increases in coal train traffic through residential areas at the State ALP conference on the weekend.

The extreme results of this pilot study indicate the urgency for proper monitoring, and the need for immediate actions to close or cover this disgraceful  and notorious coal loading facility. If Stage 3 goes ahead it will be several years before any promised  spur line is complete, and New Hope’s own revised Stage 3 Project Overview states that three new pits will be operating long before then. Noise and air pollution will be worse for Jondaryan residents, not better. This is yet another Pinocchio promise by New Hope Coal!

Web link is here http://www.cleanairqueensland.org/monitoring_study

 

 

 

Thanks, Norway!

One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the Norwegian Pension
Fund, is likely to completely divest from coal. It’s not uncommon to
find Norges in the list of top ten investors in many of the companies groups like ours are campaigning against.
http://energiogklima.no/nyhetsblogg/bjartnes/norways-swf-to-divest-from-coal/

The Norwegian Pension Fund invests in the following Australian coal
companies: Bathurst Resources, Beach Energy, BHP, Coal of Africa,
Coalspur, Cockatoo Coal, Cokal, Downer EDI, New Hope, Newcrest, White
Energy, Whitehaven Coal and Yancoal. (as well as some multinational
mining companies like Idemitsu).
They also invest in the following oil and gas companies: AGL, Dart
Energy, Incitec Pivot, Santos and Woodside Petroleum.

Today we also heard that BHP Billiton is pulling back from their Abbott Point project and ordinary people are continuing to move their funds from banks investing in these massive and polluting projects.
We hope more companies, investment firms and individuals wake up to the many poor examples of  social and environmental irresponsibility being enacted all over Queensland, including by New Hope at Acland.