Minister for Mines, Energy, and Natural Resources, Stephen Robertson, declined an invitation to take part in a discussion with FOF President Rob McCreath on Agriculture v Mining on ABC 612 Brisbane last Thursday night. This discussion was a follow-up to a programme on Monday evening, involving John Cotter, Agforce President, and Michael Roche, Chief Executive of Qld Resources Council. Recordings of both discussions can be heard here -
Incidentally, if you listen to the recording you will hear Michael Roche say "the farmers at Felton are selling". This is very misleading. The truth is that Ambre Energy has bought 1 farm of 96ha. The area covered by Ambre's proposed project is approx 2800ha, and the first stage covers 355ha. Besides, according to the law, ownership of the land does not in any way influence the granting of a Mining Lease. It's a pity the Minister wasn't there on Thursday night to put the record straight.
If he had been there, no doubt he'd have brought out the Govt's favourite line -
"Agriculture and mining have co-existed for over 100 years, and there's no reason why they can't continue to co-exist".
The fact is that coal mining destroys farmland, pollutes rivers, and drains underground aquifers. When the coal is burned, it produces greenhouse gases which accelerate global warming, giving us more frequent and severe droughts.
Mining co-exists with agriculture as cancer lives in the body, not noticed at first, but gradually eating away until the vital organs are threatened. It's time to call an ambulance!