Gardeners reject coal mining on food producing land, build veggie patch at Parliament House

Cabbages at Parliament House

More than 30 Queensland citizens concerned about a sustainable future for Queensland are bringing the farm to the city this morning.

They have built a veggie garden on the lawns of Parliament House to urge the major political parties to protect good quality agricultural land from mining.

“Protecting our local food bowl from short-term interests such as coal mining is vital if we are to move towards sustainability in Queensland. The coal industry in this state must be reigned in. We’re urging all political parties to ensure Queensland has a sustainable future by legislating to protect good quality agricultural land, nature refuges and potential renewable energy sites from mining” said Six Degrees spokesperson Eleanor Smith.

“Everyone that cares about the food they eat should be looking closely at the different policies of the political parties” said Ms Smith.

“At present there are a number of coal mines in various stages of approvals on good quality agricultural land in southern Queensland. At a time when peak oil, climate change, decreased water security and global food shortages are plaguing society, the last thing we should be doing is expanding the coal industry” said Ms Smith.

The event is supported by landholders from around Queensland who are being affected by the rampant expansion of the coal industry. Landholder Wendy Buttsworth, is set to lose the property her husband’s family has owned for over 100 years to a planned coal mine at Kunioon. Just 10 kilometres from Kingaroy this coal mine will jeopardise the Peanut Capital of Australia and the Gateway to the Bunya Mountains National Park.

“Irreplaceable superior quality food producing land will be mined for poor quality dirty coal, destroying an abundance of groundwater, including sub artesian aquifers and risking the water supply to the township of Nanango and Bjelke-Petersen Dam further downstream and potentially endangering an already delicate ecosystem” said Mrs Buttsworth.

Rob McCreath, landholder, and president of community group Friends of Felton, which formed to oppose an open-cut coal mine and coal-to-liquid plant in the Felton Valley said, “Mining destroys farmland, drains aquifers, and pollutes rivers. Burning coal produces greenhouse gases which drive climate change, resulting in more frequent and severe droughts. Coal mining on prime farmland is a lose-lose situation”.

“Queensland farmers are ensuring food and economic security for our future” said organic farmer Nevin Olm, from Haystack Plains, an area of prime agricultural land currently under threat from coal mining.

Yesterday 15 groups including climate change groups, landholders, faith groups, and conservation groups wrote a joint letter to all the major political parties calling for:

  1. a ban on mining on prime agricultural land, nature refuges and potential wind energy sites
  2. a legislated moratorium on coal fired power stations in Queensland; and
  3. a redirection of subsidies from the fossil fuel industry in Queensland into funding for renewable energy and green jobs in.

See the full text of the letter, or go to six degrees to follow the campaign! See the full text of the letter, or go to sixdegrees.org.au to get the latest. For more information: Eleanor Smith, 0431293279, Six Degrees campaign at Friends of the Earth.