Landholders rally for corridor

A 150-STRONG group of Clermont landholders have agreed to collectively negotiate with coal mining companies proposing to construct three separate rail corridors through their properties.

The seven-and-a-half hour meeting on Tuesday united landholders in their stance against the three lines, which Frankfield grazier John Burnett said were “illogical” and would be both economically and environmentally devastating for the region’s primary producers.

“Previous landholder input suggesting more suitable alignments have been ignored, as have concerns over the direct impact of flooding on developed pastures,” he said.

Waratah, Hancock and Adani coal companies have proposed to run three separate rail lines from their projects in the Galilee Basin to coastal ports within about 20km of each other.

While the Hancock and Waratah lines would run virtually parallel to Abbott Point, Adani’s Carmichael development would cross those lines and link with the present Moranbah network.

It would effectively strip the beef and grain producers of valuable land, reducing business prospects and increase the property’s susceptibility to flooding as the lines would cross at least 5km of natural floodplain country across Miclere Creek.

Mr Burnett said that was unacceptable and the steering committee, which was yet to decide on a name, would collectively fight for a more “logical” rail path.

Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson was among the small handful of political representatives at the meeting, and said the well-attended meeting was “convened for all the right purposes”.

“The real issue here is that the coal companies must show leadership and responsibility and not adopt a selfish, self-centred attitude that it is ‘my way or the highway’,” he said.

“I’ve said it before... there must only be one corridor and all parties must respect this decision.

“But more importantly, it is about time the government showed leadership and stood by the responsible request of landholders in identifying what they believe to be the right and proper corridor.”

Mr Burnett said the yet-to-be-named steering committee would form a delegation party to meet with Premier Anna Bligh in Brisbane with the aim of resolving the issue.

Four main points identified at the meeting included the development of only one major infrastructure corridor for both rail and water pipes for the mining projects, the clarification of Native Titles on leased land and the impact any changes would have on rural producers, as well as quarry rights and the ecological impact the rail levees would have on the floodplains in the area.

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