Challenging the global giants

A landholder looks out at the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminals.
A landholder looks out at the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminals.

OPPONENTS of the resource industry have vowed to create an intensive campaign to stop new export facilities from being approved, while supporting displaced and uncertain landholders affected by the boom.

Close to 100 landholders affected by mining activities recently converged at Hay Point, south of Mackay, for the Beyond Coal and Gas Forum.

Event organisers said the weekend was an energetic affair and participants returned home feeling more powerful and optimistic about their chances of protecting their communities and livelihoods.

"People are riled up. A lot of them are fighting the impacts of mining in their different part of the world and I think they got a lot out of coming together," co-ordinator and the Mackay Conservation Group's Ellie Smith said.

"People are beginning to realise they can't take on these companies by themselves.

"It was all about giving them more tools, knowledge and confidence to have at their disposal."

Ms Smith said the most noticeable indicators of the mood were that landholders made the most of every opportunity to talk with each other and share stories and experiences.

"My advice would be to talk with your neighbour, talk to the community and use the media," she said.

"That's the best way to tackle it - a mining company's image is their Achilles heel. When locals talk to the media they start to pay attention.

"(The forum) was all about giving (landholders) more tools, knowledge and confidence which they could use at their own disposal when they return to wherever it is they are fighting."

Experts presented on topics including the health impacts of coal dust, social impacts of the expansion of a FIFO workforce, economic impacts of the two-speed economy and environmental and groundwater impacts of mining and gas developments.

Seasoned campaigners and activists were also on hand to share their tips and tools for effective action.

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