Motivated farmers greet Opposition
THE message to LNP leader Campbell Newman was loud and clear from 80 Central Highlanders from the agricultural industry yesterday - “We are motivated, educated and dedicated” and “we will hold you to account and make sure the things you promised here today are acted upon”.
The leader of the Opposition faced a united crowd of representatives at Arcturus Downs in the Golden Triangle yesterday to discuss “the biggest issue affecting the bush”- the need to protect prime agricultural land from the “imbalances in a policy that gives all the rights to the miners”.
Mr Newman assured that an LNP government would protect the Golden Triangle from mining and vowed to take landholder concerns over a “shonky” government deal with Bandanna Energy to parliament.
“The Mining and Petroleum Act is in urgent need of reform. It is very much on the side of the mining companies and needs to be brought into the 21st century,” Mr Newman said.
Mr Newman agreed with landholders that many people in cities didn’t understand how much of Queensland was under mining exploration.
He assured there will be no open-cut mining on prime cropping land under an LNP-led government and said any underground operations would need to prove it would not cause subsidence before being considered, to which landholder Mike Wagner shouted, “You can’t have underground mining without subsidence”.
Megan Baker of Bareena Valley in Orion pleaded with Mr Newman to include landholders in the forming of any future policy.
“We are sick of being served up dinner, we want to help cook it. Include us in the making of your policy, there are a lot of people with the knowledge out here,” she said.
Golden Triangle Action Group spokesman Andrew Bate said he had mixed feelings about the results of the day, but was enthused Mr Newman had given an “iron-clad guarantee to protect the Golden Triangle from mining”.
He said the bumper turn-out reflected the urgency and importance the issue held for farmers.
Agricultural machinery salesman with McIntosh and Son, Peter Cominos, said the issues being discussed affected the entire industry and all involved.
“If they don’t buy tractors, the people we employ lose their jobs,” he said.
“This involves everyone… what is happening here today is being mirrored across the state and the industry has had enough.”