Farmers furious over 'back-flip'
FARMERS in the Central Highlands Golden Triangle south of Emerald are furious Bandanna Energy has been given the go-ahead for its Springsure Creek underground coalmine despite falling well within the government’s strategic cropping land protected area.
Andrew Bate, of Bendee Farming, said he was disgusted by the government’s behaviour after Bandanna was given the go-ahead, regardless of the fact its terms of reference were not finalised by May 31, the set deadline for projects to qualify for transitional arrangements.
“This is an absolute stinker and the chain hangs directly around Minister Kate Jones’ neck,” Mr Bate said.
“When she was awarded this portfolio she said strategic cropping land was her number one priority and she vowed to see it through. Now she has completely backflipped and let us all down. She has proven that she can’t be trusted.
“The deadline was set, May 31. End of story.
“Now we hear Bandanna has been given special consideration. What the hell is special consideration? Everyone would love special consideration.”
Mr Bate said if anyone deserved special consideration it was the landholders who farmed the land on which Bandanna was exploring, who came from an area that produced the highest average annual wheat yield in Queensland. He said he was infuriated the government had “avoided” contact with landholders in the area since the announcement Bandanna was being given special consideration.
“We have heard nothing. We found out through the papers and I then spent a full day phoning and emailing government representatives and Kate Jones and still to this day nothing.
“It’s disgusting. We are major stakeholders in this and they are just ignoring us” Mr Bate said.
“Of course they must have let Bandanna know.
“There are two sets of rules, one for the people and one for coal developers.
“This stinks of a dodgy backroom deal and the blame lies squarely on Kate Jones’ head.
“We are very angry.”
Mr Bate raised questions about what a mining exploration permit meant, and said the government had told farmers all along it was not a ticket to mine.
“Exploration permits come with risks and Bandanna has known all along that they are operating on strategic cropping land,” he said.
“Bandanna are saying they can regenerate the land once they are finished, so why the special consideration?
Why not face the policy instead of hiding behind the skirt of Kate Jones.”
Central Queensland News approached Ms Jones for comment but she had not responded by the time of publication.