May 14th 2012
NQCC takes on the 'dinosaurs'
The bosses of the booming resources industry gathered in Townsville this morning to deliberate on ‘future visions’ for the sector, but North Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator, Wendy Tubman, points out how little these industries contribute, and calls the coal industry a 'dinosaur' with the potential to cause massive damage to the communities, land and waters of our region.
"In April 2011, the coal industry employed just 51,900 people - less than one in two hundred of the Australian workforce. What few people realise is that last year, mining overall employed less than 2% of Australia’s workforce. It accounted for less than 10% of GDP, paid an average of 13.9% corporate tax and sent over 80% of its profits overseas " said Wendy Tubman.
"These mining heavyweights are calling their conference: ‘Future Visions and a Snapshot of Today’ – but it's worth thinking how the region would, indeed, look if the rush to massively expand coal mining, increase coal export facilities by six times, and drill tens of thousands of coal seam gas wells continues.
Environmentalists make a point at today's mining industry's Future visions gathering
“Australians are giving up so much but it comes at a price", she said.
“We know that UNESCO is already extremely concerned about proposals for vast coal exporting facilities on the coast adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
"Add to this the loss of farming land and habitat, the massive demands for water, the toxic waste output, the negative impact on families and communities associated with fly-in-fly-out workforces, the costs of a two-speed economy to manufacturing, the loss of tourism appeal, the risks to health and the contribution to climate change – all partly caused by coal – and it is obvious that the future could look very grim indeed.”
“We hear that an expanded Townsville Port may be another coal export terminal” she said.
"But what is left when the boom ends and our land and waters are ruined? What will be left of Australia’s environment and lifestyle then?
"Coal is a dinosaur fuel and we have the resources and technology now to replace these dinosaur fossil fuels. It's time for Australians to stand up and tell the dinosaur fuel lobby to stop blocking our clean energy future," said Wendy Tubman.
Story & cartoon: George Hirst
Photo: Courtesy NQCC
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