Farmers and coal miners need to band together. Picture: Jack Tran/News Corp Australia
Farmers and coal miners need to band together. Picture: Jack Tran/News Corp Australia

Coal miners and farmers — we’re not so different

AS the anti-Adani convoy winds its way north from Hobart, I'm calling on farming and coal mining families to come together around a new vision for the future of our region.

I'm a second-generation grazier near Jericho, two hours away from Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine, but I also understand the fears of the many families in my region who rely economically on mining.

I've faced my own fears about the future, selling large numbers of livestock due to the drought. I experience them today too when I look at the mines planned for the Galilee and the risks they pose to our groundwater supplies and all communities that rely on the Great Artesian Basin.

Coal miners and farmers, we're not so different. We've all been subject to government neglect, soul-destroying droughts; baking heatwaves, and heartbreaking floodwaters which swept away homes, cattle, fences and livelihoods last summer.

All Queenslanders want the state to prosper, says grazier Bruce Currie. Picture: Jack Tran/News Corp Australia
All Queenslanders want the state to prosper, says grazier Bruce Currie. Picture: Jack Tran/News Corp Australia

We all want jobs and we all want Queensland to prosper. Somehow, however, political squabbling has been allowed to muddy the waters.

Of course coal mining families feel afraid when their politicians - the people they should be able to trust - tell them that without investment in thermal coal, their future is in question and that those who say otherwise are latte-sipping greenies.

But do you know what? Most of the people on the anti-Adani convoy don't drink kombucha and eat activated almonds (whatever they are) for brekkie.

They're ordinary Australians - retirees, tradies, business owners and farmers - who can see that tying Queensland's future purely to the fate of thermal coal and one company in particular is the worst thing we can do for our state.

The tragic reality is, people with a high level stake in the thermal coal industry - Eagle St executives, politicians - will do whatever it takes to get the Adani mine going, despite the fact that coal is being globally recognised as an energy source of the past and the promised jobs is an ever dwindling number.

But where will they be when the reality hits that coal just doesn't stack up economically anymore?

Where will they be when our groundwater supplies and environment is wrecked because Adani and subsequent mines have undermined the integrity of our groundwater supplies?

You can bet your backside that they won't be here with us in Central Queensland.

They'll be long gone, and it will be us: graziers, farmers, coal industry workers and everyday Australians who will be left to rebuild.

Conservationist and former Greens leader Bob Brown addresses protesters outside the Adani Headquarters in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Conservationist and former Greens leader Bob Brown addresses protesters outside the Adani Headquarters in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Meanwhile climate change will continue to take its toll, with more heatwaves, extended droughts and more extreme weather events.

More thermal coal mines aren't going to solve these problems - they will only make them worse.s

Sunrise industries like renewable energy, agriculture, value adding, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency on the other hand offer Queensland an exciting alternate vision for the future.

This is a region bursting at the seams with the engineering, mining, and technical skills that will be needed in these industries. It's time we seized these opportunities and reclaimed our future.

As the anti-Adani convoy slowly makes its way towards us, let's not get distracted by divisive and destructive politics.

Together let's take proper stock of the options on the table and demand integrity and transparency from our politicians and ensure that they back us (not the global mining giants) to build a bright future for our region.

Bruce Currie is a Jericho grazier and member of Farmers for Climate Action.