'Betrayal' fires up farmers
GOLDEN Triangle farmers are shocked at the latest “betrayal” of outgoing Environment and Resource Minister Kate Jones and have vowed to make sure she is held accountable for her “litany of broken promises”.
Sam Bradford, who runs Arcturus Downs south of Emerald, extended an invite to the newly appointed Natural Resources Minister Rachel Nolan to attend his property where she could see first-hand the “urgent” need for Strategic Cropping Land policy.
A group of angry landholders met at Arcturus Downs on Sunday to formulate a plan and discuss options as they get ready to fight for their land, Mr Bradford said.
The group is particularly disgusted by the government’s decision to grant Bandanna Energy special consideration for its Springsure Creek coal project despite the exploration company missing the May 31 deadline for SCL transitional arrangements.
An element of the proposed SCL policy was to identify mining projects that had reached an advanced stage in their approvals process by May 31, then grant them transitional arrangements, meaning they would not have to comply with the full extent of the policy.
By May 31, Bandanna’s Springsure Creek project had not reached the recognised stage. But the government later “practically” announced Bandanna would be given special consideration.
The project covers about half of the 18,000ha property Mr Bradford manages. The property sits in the middle of the SCL trigger maps, an area Kate Jones previously declared would be given the highest level of protection.
Present at Sunday’s meeting and hearing the concerns of Golden Triangle landholders for the first time was Lock the Gate president and lifelong Greens campaigner Drew Hutton. Reports indicated the Golden Triangle farmers may enlist the help of the Lock the Gate Alliance in their fight.
“We need to raise the profile of Central Queensland and let the world know what is happening out here,” Mr Bradford said. “We are now totally dismayed and angry at the entire process. We have had numerous pledges of protection from the government and were told no companies would slip through the net.
“For some unknown reason this two-bit company has been given special consideration.
“We need to make sure Kate Jones is accountable for this and Rachel Nolan needs to come out here and see Bandanna’s poor performance for herself. We are very frustrated, Nolan knows nothing about the policy and she has to now play catch-up on a whole range of issues. They are just passing the buck.”
Mr Bradford said farmers were usually very mild mannered and unconfrontational, but the unfairness of what has happened in the Golden Triangle forced them to contact seasoned campaigners.
He said Mr Hutton appeared dumbfounded about their treatment. The Central Queensland News extended Mr Bradford’s invite to Rachel Nolan yesterday with no answer by time of print.