Landholders, you're not alone
SIMMERING tensions are at risk of boiling over after famers from across Central Queensland met with Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton on his tour of the region earlier this week.
Over the course of two nights in Emerald and Gindie, landholders joined Mr Hutton to discuss the anger, fear and pressure associated with an ever-expanding mining industry encroaching onto their land and livelihoods.
The State Government said it was determined to strike a balance between mining and agriculture and has trumpeted its newly introduced Strategic Cropping Land Legislation as the backbone to help do so.
But undeniable uncertainty continues to run rife among landholders. On Tuesday farmers joined Bimblebox Nature Refuge owner Paola Cassoni for a draft screening of a documentary outlining the plight to save her land from coal mining.
Mr Hutton told landholders they were not alone in their struggle.
"There are about 150 community groups associated with Lock the Gate and over 1000 farmers have done just that," he told a group of more than 50 landholders in Gindie on Wednesday night.
He was joined by Save Our Darling Downs founder Ruth Armstrong, who talked of her five-year battle against gas companies.
"I don't think it's dramatic to say the next 30 to 40 years will determine the future of this country," Mr Hutton said.
"Do you want to protect what is important about this country, do you want to protect our food bowl, our water, the health and welfare of local communities, do you want to protect our cultural heritage itself? Fight for it.
"We actually have to have a large popular movement, probably the biggest social movement this country has ever seen.
"I'm afraid country people have got to take a stand... you can get support, but you have got to be in the front line, you've got to be prepared to say no."