QRC releases ‘checklist’ of anti-mining activism

The Queensland Resources Council has released a checklist of activism aimed at shutting down the state's export coal and gas industries.

QRC chief Michael Roche today stated that "two years after the strategy document Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom was leaked to the media, it is valuable to see how the anti-coal (and coal-seam gas) campaign has unfolded in Queensland".

"For example, the strategy of mounting legal challenges to disrupt or delay new projects is well recorded with appeals in the Queensland Land Court over the Alpha coal mine from a Canberra resident and an interest group with a postal address in Brisbane's West End," he said.

"Tactics for the so-called ‘Battle of the Galilee’ include organising landowners to help delay the development of mines and railways while noting the location of coal ports adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is seen as an opportunity for ‘alliance building’ with scientists and industries including fishing and tourism," Roche said."The signatories to the strategy document have all contributed to campaigns high on slogans but void of science to support claims that shipping and port dredging are major threats to the environmental health of the Great Barrier Reef."

The QLD government has recently been working towards halting actions such legal or delaying actions by those not associated or located near new projects.

The state is considering restricting who can object to mining applications.

As it stands any person or group can object to applications, whether they are directly affected by the operation or not, forcing the matter into the Land Court.

At the time QLD deputy premier Jeff Seeney said "it's obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry – for whatever reason – to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects”.

"The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that."

QLD mines minister Andrew Cripps added that “extreme greens” from interstate and overseas were fighting many of these approvals.

It has previously been revealed that Greenpeace had developed a plan to fund “scandal research” to help shut down coal mining.

Roche went on to say that while WWF and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) were not overtly parties to the original anti-coal movement, they appear to be playing both sides of the argument.

"For example, on key environmental issues such as Great Barrier Reef water quality, WWF had played a constructive role in promoting the importance of land management practices to reduce nutrient and sediment loads entering the lagoon."Last year, WWF and AMCS were brought together by the Thomas Foundation – which previously had a proud record of funding science based conservation activities."The outcome is a marine ‘advocacy program’ – the so-called ‘Fight for the Reef’ campaign – whose website and other collateral is littered with untruths."

The head of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt, himself stated that "the debate about Abbot Point has been marked by considerable misinformation, including claims about 'toxic sludge', dumping coal on the reef and even mining the reef" to the point where the GBRMPA is even being challenged in court over its decision to allow dredge disposal.

Roche's statements come just days after the Minerals Council of Australia called on The Greens and environmental groups to stop supporting potentially dangerous acts of civil disobedience.

The council says people are in danger of serious injury as protesters continue to chain themselves to vehicles, dangle from machinery dressed as bats, lie in the path of vehicles and intimidate landholders who are happy to have exploration take place on their properties.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it is disappointing to see WWF in particular becoming more Greenpeace-like by the day," Roche said.

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