Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Keep Coal out of our Salad Bowl

Recent research by Friends of Felton has produced some staggering statistics on the scale of the booming horticulture industry on the Western outskirts of Toowoomba. Vegetable growers in the area from Felton through Cambooya to Wyreema have a combined annual turnover of over $23 million/year, and employ more than 340 people.

Every week, these farmers produce 750,000 lettuces, 65,000 cauliflowers, 60,000 bunches of celery, and 18,000 cabbages. Every year they produce 2000 tonnes of onions, and 500 tonnes of potatoes.

This district is ideally suited to horticulture, due to the ideal climate, quality of water and fertile soils. The Eastern Downs is seasonally out of phase with the Lockyer Valley and, therefore, can ensure continuity of supply to South-East Queensland markets.

If the Felton project is allowed to proceed, a number of other mining developments are waiting in the wings. In their Annual Report 2008, Ambre Energy describe coal deposits they have identified at Scrubby Mountain (Pittsworth), and Back Plains. New Hope Corporation, operators of New Acland mine, have earmarked coal deposits at Pittsworth, Mt Russell, and Wyreema (Directors Report July 2008).

Friends of Felton are committed to stopping the Felton project, and defending the Darling Downs from mining.

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