Mayor Margaret Strelow.
Mayor Margaret Strelow. Allan Reinikka ROK260618abudget1

Strelow to SEQ: 'I need to speak out about an injustice'

ROCKHAMPTON Mayor Margaret Strelow's open letter to the people of southeast Queensland ran in The Courier Mail yesterday.

I want to say something very very important to the people of southeast Queensland.

But firstly let me tell you a little about me. I have a background in education.

My formal qualifications include a Master of Education Studies, two other degrees, and a Graduate Diploma.

I am a mum of four, and nanna to six delightful grandchildren.

And I have been Mayor of Rockhampton for 15 years.

I was a member of the Labor Party for 26 years. I joined the party because I hate injustice.

Now I need to speak out about an injustice.

You may have heard about Adani.

I'm guessing that what you have heard has been negative.

Mayor Margaret Strelow addresses the Business Forum on the Adani mine development.
Mayor Margaret Strelow addresses the Business Forum on the Adani mine development. Chris Ison ROK111017cadani3

I want to tell you that the chances are extremely high that what you heard was a lie, or an embellished half-truth.

Rockhampton is one of the regional communities that has thrown support behind Adani.

And we haven't done so because we are blind to the reality of climate change.

We just believe that our coal (which is "cleaner” than most other coals) can actually be a part of the transition. And that we should be able to talk about this in a calm environment.

The campaign against the Adani company has been dirty and dishonest. Adani are not an inherently evil company.

They are no worse than any Australian company that I know.

In fact they are better than many. And the really pathetic thing is that your political leaders know this too.

I'm not about to vouch for every detail of Adani's dealings across multiple locations in a massive company. But I am happy to vouch for the people with whom I have dealt directly.

I have applied my own education and experience to source original documents and court records - from India and Australia. In the end, after doing my own research, I didn't lose any respect for Adani.

But I lost all respect for the leaders of the conservation movement.

This whole debacle has not been about Adani the company but about a belief that the Gallilee coal basin should simply not be developed.

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy confessed that "the major environmental campaign in the Galilee Basin was focused on Adani's project because it was the only one of the six mine proposals likely to get up”.

Now you may share the belief that the coal in the Galilee Basin should stay in the ground. And that is a legitimate position to hold.

But our current legislation does not support that position, it doesn't prevent mining in the Galilee basin.

In fact it sets out a process that allows this mining to occur. And that is where we are at right now.

Someone in the State Government needs to simply do their job.

That is democracy.

PS. If your objection to Adani is that you wish the development was being done by an Australian company, please remember that many of our existing mines were opened by Japanese companies - and we all shared the wealth.