Give us the real story on the Galilee Basin
NORTH and Central Queensland businesses and community leaders furious at political posturing over mining giant Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine are taking matters into their own hands.
Groups in Mackay, Townsville and Rockhampton have launched advertising and social media campaigns demanding politicians and candidates at all levels of government make clear their position on mining in the Galilee Basin.
In a unique act of collaboration, today the Mackay Daily Mercury, Townsville Bulletin and Rockhampton Morning Bulletin have all run the same front page and open letter.
Last week, Resource Industry Network launched its For the Future of our Region advocacy campaign designed to deliver facts around coal mining and to ensure the community is informed at the poll booth.
General manager Adrienne Rourke said RIN had developed a website and a Facebook page.
"This is an opportunity for the community to understand where candidates stand when it comes to developing new thermal and metallurgical coal mines," she said.
"For the future of our communities, businesses, jobs and kids, we need to commit to opening new mines and RIN is encouraging everyone to stand up and be part of the discussion."
Read stories from the Daily Mercury's Our Future Mackay campaign
Adani's proposed coal mine in the Galilee Basin has been in the planning stages for eight years now. The scaled-down project has finance and has been given environmental approvals by the Federal Government.
Its fate lies in the hands of the State Government, which has been accused of shifting the goalposts and dragging its feet over environmental approvals.
Today in Townsville, a group of concerned business leaders have banded together to launch a hard-hitting campaign calling for elected representatives to step up for the region.
Led by Parkside Group director Peter Tapiolis, the idea came out of a recent lunch in which Adani Mining Australia CEO Lucas Dow updated a section of the business community on the mine's lack of progress.
"I could not sit by and watch our Townsville and the regional economies go from bad to worse while our political and advocacy leaders continue to sit on their hands and do little to reverse the situation," Mr Tapiolis said.
Economic development organisation Townsville Enterprise is also launching an open letter, supported by 20 local businesses, calling on politicians and candidates to sign a pledge if they support mining in the Galilee.
They have until 5pm Friday April 26 to respond before Townsville Enterprise and the Bulletin make public the results.
Townsville Enterprise chairman Kevin Gill said North Queensland families were sick of the opening of the Galilee Basin being thrown around like a political football.
"The frustration has built up across our community and businesses to the point that today we say enough is enough and we are taking a stand," he said.
The Capricornia Chamber of Commerce is poised to launch a similar advertising campaign after its executive meeting next week.
Chamber secretary Phil Henry said the members felt as though they had to go public with their views.
"This is a coal region. It has been for a long time and it will be for a long time to come," he said.
"Adani is just one of six projects in the Galilee Basin so it's not all about Adani but it is simply the one that's got to this stage first.
"The Galilee Basin is the next natural region to be developed for coal and we see the measurable impact mining has on supply chain and the general economy in the Fitzroy region."
Queensland Resource Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said there was a growing concern the Palaszczuk Government did not support new large coal mines.
"This is a concern because it's the same government that is willing to spend the royalty taxes created by coal mines to pay for teachers, nurses and police," he said.
"This year the Palaszczuk Government will be handed a record $5.2 billion from royalty taxes from the sector, with coal contributing $4.6 billion."
Mr Macfarlane said the Galilee Basin's development would support 13,900 jobs during construction and 12,803 jobs during operation.
"These jobs are highly skilled, high-tech and pay on average $138,000 a year which is spent with the local bakery, the butcher and the hairdresser," he said.
"If all six major projects in the Galilee were to proceed the projects would have a combined investment value of $36 billion."
Adani Mining chief Lucas Dow said the company appreciated the steadfast support it received from people across regional Queensland.
"The stories we hear from people seeking work, or wanting local career opportunities for their children, or even just wanting to see their local towns thriving, are continued sources of motivation for us to do everything we can to get this project started," he said.
"All we need is for the Queensland Government to give us a fair go, like they would any other mining company."