Sometimes they really do act like they own the entire country.
The mining industry, under billionaire magnate Clive Palmer, is trying to establish an open-cut coal mine called China First in the Bimblebox Nature Refuge – a privately-owned area of Central-West Queensland. Not only is it private land, but as the name suggests, Bimblebox is already a protected nature reserve under state and federal law. Only it turns out, the law protects Bimblebox and other areas like it from everything except mining.
Now it looks like Bimblebox could soon be turned into the largest open-cut coal mine in Australia. It’s crazy, and it’s a slap in the face not only to those who own and manage the land, but to the entire ethos of conservation and environmental protection. Nature refuges have almost the same level of protection we afford national parks. If we allow Bimblebox to be destroyed, what's to stop them taking over anywhere else?
With just two days until Queenslanders vote, let’s speak up, defend our natural heritage and reclaim our state from industry bullies who think they own the place. Tell Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman we need them to get off the fence and guarantee Bimblebox will be protected from the "China First" mine, for good.
So far both parties have remained non-committal to protecting Bimblebox and other conservation areas. Anna Bligh's policy on nature reserves is so ambiguous that that her Government could easily supporting mining proposals just like this one, unless she makes further commitments. Meanwhile, Campbell Newman has said he will protect the Scenic Rim, Golden Triangle and part of the Darling Downs region and has told our friends at Lock the Gate he would protect high conservation areas from coal and coal seam gas mining, but he still won't be drawn on a solid commitment regarding Bimblebox.
With the LNP and Labor desperate to claw back votes before Saturday, a well-timed outpouring of public concern could really push them off the fence:
This is worth the fight, in part because it isn’t just another coal mine we're talking about. If built, Clive Palmer’s “China First mine” on the Bimblebox site would be twice the size of what is currently the largest coal mine in the Australia. The vast majority of the profits wouldn't benefit the community, but flow back to various Chinese corporate partners. Even the coal company's own impact statement admits modest benefits for the local economy will be offset by their prediction of 3,000 job losses across Queensland, rising inflation, and over $1.2 billion in lost manufacturing activity over the next four years.
If a privately owned and legally protected nature reserve isn’t safe, what is? Let's get behind local conservation activists, and our allies at Lock the Gate, by emailing Campbell Newman and Anna Bligh today.
Thanks for speaking up,
The GetUp team.
PS - Here's what Paola Cassoni who manages the Bimblebox Nature Refuge describes the fight to save this precious area: "For 12 years we have put our minds, money and muscle into protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of this remnant slice of natural heritage. But we were deluded into thinking that a nature refuge was actually protected from external threats. In a cruel twist of fate, we now find that all our energy is consumed in desperately trying to justify ourselves and our nature refuge to the State and Federal Governments. Governments that firstly assessed and recognised the high conservation values then actively engaged us to enter the agreements necessary to protect it ‘in perpetuity’. Since then, it has become distressingly clear that unless there is public intervention, we will mourn the loss of this native bushland along with Queenslanders' faith in conservation covenants." Can you let Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman know they need to commit to saving Bimblebox and other conservation areas from mining before the election on Saturday? www.getup.org.au/stop-mining-conservation-areas
1 Waratah Coal 2010. Economic Impact Assessment for the China First Project EIS - Final Report. Accessed 14 Dec 2011.