Magnetic Island North Queensland
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May 15th 2012
Letter: What does the NQCC contribute?

Following strong criticism of the mining industry from North Queensland Conservation Council Co-ordinator, Wendy Tubman, yesterday - as Australia's biggest mining company representatives met in Townsville (see: NQCC takes on the 'dinosaurs') - an off-the-grid reader responds.

So what does Wendy Tubman & the NQCC do to contribute to the lively hood of the area?

How is Wendy & the NQCC going to provide the jobs.. yer ask the Government to put it's hand out. The problem is that the Government is already broke & doing a Carbon Tax to try and balance the budget..

BUT without Coal & Iron there will not be much Carbon Tax income and no income for hand outs

Take away the export income from Iron & Coal and Australia will be broke.. no taxes to pay for the infrastructure, hospitals, partially treated sewerage, water reticulation, electricity, roads or fix the roads that we drive on which is made of oil based bitumen. etc etc

By the way I am totally against the Carbon Tax because it does not solve NQCC's problem anyway It basically collects money to help pay for hand outs and help reimburse people for the gross impact of Carbon Tax as well as a bribe to get votes at the next election

Comments from: David EDE at West Point who uses only solar power , collects his water off the roof , uses solar hot water and has his own 100% tertiary seweage treatment plant run by solar power and watered by water off the roof. Come on be real.

David Ede

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Letter: What does the NQCC contribute?
Wendy Tubman
May 15th 2012

Hello David

First, may I congratulate you on your wonderfully low impact lifestyle. Despite our different views, I am guessing that, because you live as you do at West Point, you share my love of our wonderful natural environment.

You ask how I and NQCC contribute to the livelihood of the area.

The answer is that we speak up for the welfare of the voice-less environment (in the same way that the RSPCA speaks up for the welfare of voiceless animals) in order to ensure that there is the strong, healthy basis necessary for our community and economy.

The idea that, without a healthy environment, we are doomed to a lesser life is not new, and is widely shared by all sides of politics. We need healthy land to grow food and earn export dollars, we need a healthy ocean to provide fish, we need healthy waterways to irrigate crops and to drink, we need wildlife to spread seeds and pollinate crops, we need trees to provide habitat and absorb carbon dioxide and many of us – possibly both of us David – need unspoiled environments to help us feel good.

Unfortunately, because it is hard to put a dollar value on the environment it is often not taken into account when decisions are made about how we use it. NQCC works to ensure that all aspects of the environment are taken into consideration; that laws are adequate and are policed, that impacts are minimized (or in some cases avoided) and that use is sustainable so that the environment we leave for those to come is as good as it was when we took it over – or better.

Turning to the so-called ‘carbon tax’. The idea of putting a price on carbon is based on two common views: (i) if people damage something they should make up for the damage they caused, and (ii) that, generally, when the price of something goes up, people use less of it and business looks to use alternatives.

We know that carbon emissions – largely from the burning of coal – contribute to climate change. So charging those industries that burn a lot of coal makes sense; it encourages them to use less of the damaging coal and more of the other forms of less-polluting energy.

It makes even better sense when the money that is collected is used to encourage the development of those other forms of energy (eg solar, wind, wave etc) and to compensate those who might be affected by any increases in prices of ‘carbon-heavy’ items.

This is how Australia’s carbon tax will work. It is a model used elsewhere around the world.

The alternative being offered to Australia by Tony Abbott involves using people’s taxes to help decrease energy use and the development of renewable energy technology, while allowing carbon-heavy industries to go on polluting our atmosphere. It’s the reverse of the carbon tax – we pay to support better ways of producing energy while the polluters keep on polluting. To me that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

In terms of needing the coal industry to pay for infrastructure, it is important to note that, while the heavily subsidized coal industry claims to be of great benefit to Australia, the figures (ABS) say something else. In April last year the coal industry directly employed just 51,900 people, less than 0.5% of the Australian workforce. The mining sector as a whole directly employed less than 2% of Australia’s workforce, accounted for less than 10% of Gross Domestic Production, paid an average of 13.9% corporate tax and sent over 80% of its profits overseas to foreign investors. At the same time, it contributes significantly to the high value of the dollar, which hurts exporting industries (such as agriculture) and industries competing with imports (such as manufacturing). Only this week, it was reported that Queensland reached a peak in terms of businesses (especially tourism, retailing and education) ‘going under’.

The resource boom in Australia is phenomenal – but that’s all it is, a boom. What happens when the boom busts and we have done irreparable damage to our environment, economy and communities in the rush to dig up and export coal?

One final point – how would you feel if a coal or coal seam gas company applied to the government for a permit to first explore for and then mine coal or CSG on your place at West Point? They would be within their rights regardless of whether you agreed or not and they could, all with government approval, turn your land into an open-cut mine, whether or not you wanted it. This is happening to countless individuals and families around NSW and Queensland. Regardless of the natural environment, the human cost alone of this boom is overwhelming.


Wendy Tubman

Wendy Tubman
May 15th 2012
And in that long response, I forgot to mention all the potential jobs in renewable energy!
May 15th 2012
One thing the coal miners do remarkably well,they probably inflict more damage to the environment per employee than any other industry.In north Qld,the nuclear reactor shining above your heads can supply all the energy needs required.@ David The carbon reduction incentive that you are totally against does not affect you, seeing you have independence from the grid,so what is your gripe,the idea of the incentive is to speed up the transfer to renewable and is more pertinent to states south of Qld.

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