Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friends of Felton need your help!

Ambre Energy (Felton) Pty Ltd has lodged a planning application with Toowoomba Regional Council for a "Material Change of Use" over 589Ha, to establish site offices and storage areas.

I am writing to appeal to everyone to PLEASE write to Toowoomba Regional Council, to object to Ambre Energy's planning application. Friends of Felton's main argument is that although the application is for a couple of dongas, this is the first stage of Ambre's much bigger plans. They cannot be granted a Mining Lease until a thorough Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared ( and we'll have plenty to say about that), therefore this application should be rejected.

We know that many of the councillors are on our side, and some have spoken out strongly against Ambre's plans. However, they are all under a lot of pressure, not least from the Qld Govt, who have a huge debt and are keen for the project to succeed. We need to give the councillors as much encouragement as possible to reject this application.

Lets flood them with letters of objection!

Your letter doesn't need to be long, or typed (handwritten is fine). Just make sure you put your name & address on it, and sign it. It doesn't matter where you live, letters are valid from anywhere - as long as they get to Toowoomba Regional Council on or before Weds 6th August.

Feel free to forward this to anyone you think would help us. If you have neighbours or friends without email, please print this off for them.

Remember the Dalai Lama's remark - " If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night with a mosquito".

The 2 next posts should help, sorry they're in reverse order.

Submission template

Your name and address


The Chief Executive Officer
Toowoomba Regional Council
PO Box 3021
Toowoomba Village Fair
Qld 4350

Dear Sir/Madam

MATERIAL CHANGE OF USE APPLICATION: Hayden Road, Felton (Lot 1 on RP197372)

We refer to the material change of use application made by Ambre Energy (Felton) Pty. Ltd. in respect to Lot 1 on Plan RP197372 (Hayden Rd, Felton East)

Ambre Energy (Felton) Pty. Ltd. proposes to establish a site office and additional storage yard to support ongoing drilling and core sampling activities prior to the commencement of formal mining activities both on the site and in the broader Felton area.

We are owners of . . . . . /resident in the area ……………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. (give a brief account of your interest in the application)

Our key concern about the proposed material change of use from ‘rural’ to ‘industrial – low impact and commercial use’ at this site is that this development application presupposes the granting by State Government of a mining lease over a number of properties within the Felton area. Granting of such a lease can only happen, by law, following the completion and acceptance of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Study. Approval of this current development application by Council should take into account the proposed project as a whole.

Our concerns about the project as a whole (and consequently, this development application as a first request for approval of the Ambre Energy coal mining and petro-chemical processing project) cover a number of areas (suggestions only; please make you own list of headings to cover the things you are most concerned about):

conflict with the strategic plan
conflict with the planning scheme
impact on agricultural enterprises
impact on the environment
impact on amenity, community character etc
impact on road safety
noise, dust etc

Use each of these points as headings for the next section, providing details of your concerns

Strategic plan

(your point 1)
(your point 2) etc

Planning Scheme

(your point 1)
(your point 2) etc

Impact on agriculture

(your point 1)
(your point 2) etc



For the above reasons, we oppose the proposed change of landuse as the first stage of a project which poses a significant threat to the Felton Valley community. We ask that Council refuse the application.

Yours faithfully


Help with making a submission to Toowoomba Regional Council

Extracts from Environmental Defenders Office (Qld) Inc. “Factsheet 7: Making submissions on development applications”.

A submission is a special type of letter written to an authority considering a development application; it sets out either (i) the submitter’s reasons for why a specific development application should be refused or made subject to conditions addressing the submitter’s concerns, or (ii) why the submitter believes an application should be approved.

A properly made submission should:
(1) be in writing
(2) be received during the submission period (in this case, by Wednesday 6th August)
(3) state the name and address of every person making the submission
(4) be signed by all making the submission
(5) state the grounds of the submission and the facts relied on to support those grounds, and
(6) be made to the assessment manager for the development application

Individual submissions are more effective than petitions or form letters.

Anyone can make a submission; you don’t need to be resident in the area.

Grounds for making submissions can include: impact of a development on amenity (e.g. dust, noise, light, odour, visual factors), community character, traffic, noise, air pollution, waste management, land contamination, need and economic factors, property values, ecological impacts, cultural impacts, social impacts.

Developments need to align with and further objectives set out in the local government planning scheme (under the Integrated Planning Act), and to comply with any codes (e.g. building codes, landscaping codes, character protection codes) relevant to the development.

Council’s decision regarding an impact assessable development must advance ecological sustsainability

If you make a submission, you will be notified of the assessment manager’s decision on the development application.

There is no cost involved in making a submission.

Before making a submission, it is suggested in the factsheet that you should view:

(i) the development application (TRC website, planning and building, pd on line, search application, 2008 / 3040)

(ii) the local government planning documents (these are available at cost from the Pittsworth Council Offices, either on CD for $20 or in report form for $50 )
(iii) any relevant codes

(iv) any relevant planning, ecological, cultural, traffic or other studies for the area.

Points to bear in mind:

facts must be provided to support the submission
use headings to group your points
suggest conditions which might be imposed on the development to address your concerns

The following is an example of how you might set out your submission. Please change any of the text to suit your own situation/opinion.

Please ensure that you either post or deliver you submission to ensure that it arrives before the close of business on Wednesday 6th August 2008, and please remember to sign it.

Where is Felton?

Felton is around 30km southwest of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. The site for the proposed development is on the western side of Hodgson Creek, approx 2.5km from Felton on the Pittsworth road. Click on the link below for a map -


Friends of Felton Report 22 July 2008

MP’s Ray Hopper from the Queensland parliament and Ian Macfarlane from the Federal parliament headlined the meeting held last week at Felton.

Ray Hopper MP

Ray used his experience with the Ackland Mine as an example of the growth in size of mining in the area, and stated that whilst not against mining per se, he is totally against the destruction of prime farming land. He is concerned that the proposed rail link to Gladstone will open up more prime land to mining, which should be preserved for feeding and clothing our nation. Ray highlighted similar issues that Friends of Felton face in the Liverpool Plains and the Hunter Valley. At the “Meeting of the Minds”, organized by Bruce Scott MP in Dalby, a map was shown where all the farming land on the Downs was potentially covered by exploration leases, which was of great concern to Ray.

Ian Macfarlane MP

Ian pointed out that this is mainly a State issue with little Federal jurisdiction, but that his base belief is in agriculture. He encouraged Friends of Felton supporters to lobby the new Liberal/National party in Queensland to commit to strengthen the laws protecting arable land, as part of their election platform. Ian suggested the proposed carbon tax may have some impact on mine development, and if the oil price were to drop below $100 per barrel, the “Coal to Liquids” process is likely to become unviable economically.

Projects for the sequestration of CO2 have not been successful to date, and the only working project in Norway is under suspicion for leakage of the gas. Physical sequestration has a long way to go.

Change of use application

Ambre Energy have applied for the above on a Felton property to base a site office for the mine. Anyone wishing to lodge a submission to the Toowoomba Regional Council has until 6 August to do so, and the application can be viewed under the planning and building section of the TRC website, code 2008/3040

Mobile Signs

A very successful working bee has resulted in 2 large mobile signs being displayed in the Felton area, and further publicity is being planned.

The slogan for this week is Clean Coal, Dirty Joke
The next meeting will be held at the Felton Hall on Tuesday 5th August.

Hugh Reardon-Smith
Secretary Friends of Felton
382 words

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sign writing

We had a great turn out of volunteers at the weekend to paint slogans on old grain bins.

The idea was to keep the message simple, and concentrate on two key issues with Ambre Energy's plans for our valley - CO2 emissions and the loss of prime farmland.

These mobile billboards will add to the message from dozens of improvised signs which are springing up like mushrooms around the area.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Friends of Felton 8 July Report

Friends of Felton Report

Last week’s meeting concentrated on reports on Ambre Energy’s Pittsworth information meeting, and a meeting with Peter Kenny of AgForce.

Ambre’s Information Meeting

Ambre’s plans for the CO2 that will be produced at the proposed hybrid energy plant were frustratingly vague at the Pittsworth meeting, with a number of options apparently under consideration. It appears that piping it to Moonie is the most favoured, with a sleeve suggested as the answer to fixing the current leaks in the pipeline. What was uncomfortably clear was that the amount of CO2 expected to be produced has tripled, to 3 tonnes of CO2 for every 1 tonne of DME (dimethyl ether).

The location of the potential buffer zones around the mine and plant are still to be decided by Ambre, and the future supply of water is still uncertain. Although Ambre are no longer planning to wash the coal, they will still need to import water and appear to be considering using potential saline water from the Dalby gas fields, but are unclear about potential desalination.

Ambre expect to apply for a mining lease within 4 weeks, but are unsure when the revised IAS (initial advice statement) will be available. They then expect the EIS (environmental impact survey) to take 18 months. Friends of Felton will only have 20 days to lodge suggestions for terms of reference for the EIS once the lease application is lodged.

AgForce Meeting

Friends of Felton were invited to join concerned AgForce members meeting with Peter Kenny recently. The group were informed about AgForce’s activities concerning the farming versus mining issue, and how AgForce could assist in the future.


The recent 7.30 Report exposure was well received by the group, and further publicity was discussed. The photographic exhibition is expected to be on display in the Pittsworth Gallery from 21st July – well worth a visit to see how beautiful the Felton Valley is.

The logo for this week is Mining in Felton. Shame, Shame, Shame.

The next meeting will be held at the Felton Hall on Tuesday 22nd July at 7pm, where Ray Hopper, MP for Darling Downs, will address the group.