In a few weeks I’m heading back up to Queensland, to revisit some of the places in my Rich Land, Wasteland book, as in the chapter ‘Dark times in the sunshine state’ and others.
The catalyst was that I’ve been invited to speak at the Beyond Coal and Gas Forum, which will be held in the almost ex-village of Louisa Creek, just south of Mackay. It’s right beside the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal stockpiles and loaders, and is threatened by a proposed stockpile in the village itself.
The idea behind the get-together is ‘Uniting communities affected by the boom’. And boy, do they need to help each other under an even more pro-dig and drill-it-all-up government than Anna’s, if that’s possible.
“We have brought together a range of voices to help communities and landholders overcome the steep learning curve that is necessary when coal and gas companies decide to set up shop in their region”, said event organiser, Ms Ellie Smith.
The other speakers include three people, Jo-anne, Maria and Patricia, who are in the book…
- Jo-Anne Bragg, Principal Solicitor of the Environmental Defenders Office in Queensland (who’ve just had their funding cut!);
- Dr Gavin Mudd — Monash University: Coal and gas mining impacts on ground and surface water;
- Mark Ogge — The Australia Institute: The economic impacts of the coal and gas boom and renewable energy alternatives for Central Queensland;
- Sarah Moles — Lock the Gate Alliance: Key lessons from the Lock the Gate movement in Queensland;
- Maria MacDonald — Bowen resident and health professional: Health impacts of coal including dust and noise pollution;
- Jaquie Sheils — GBR Marine Biologist: Threats to the Great Barrier Reef from the coal and gas boom; and
- Patricia Julien — Mackay Conservation Group: Overview of the extent and impacts of coal expansion in Central Queensland.
“We’re inviting people from all over regional Queensland to come together to learn and share strategies for protecting our land, our water, our reef and all their associated industries. We will look beyond coal and gas to strategies that will build a more secure future”, said Ellie.
WHEN: 9am Saturday 28th July until 4pm Sunday 29 July 2012
WHERE: Louisa Creek Community Centre, Hay Point, South of Mackay
TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the forum website or contact forum coordinator Ellie Smith at the Mackay Conservation Group on (07) 4953 0808
Personally, I’m looking for inspiration and possible solutions as well as to catch up with many of the people who shared their stories in the book, like Louisa Creek local Betty Hobbs, Paul Murphy, Paola Cassoni, and Avriel and LIndsay Tyson.
Afterwards I’m visiting Bimblebox and giving talks around the regions en route to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast — details later!