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