Residents wary of boom
ALPHA residents have voiced their scepticism on whether their town will benefit from the looming Alpha Coal Project in the Galilee Basin.
At the weekend a 100,000-tonne test pit was opened to begin testing resource quality at the site but many locals felt left out of the mix, with very few residents invited to the event.
The mood on Main Street Alpha earlier this week was sombre and indifferent and much of what was said highlighted the lack of faith the community has in the explosion of mine benefits on the horizon.
“What have the mines done for Springsure or Clermont? Nothing – why should we expect it to be any different here?” one local said.
Despite this scepticism, there seemed to be a general understanding amongst the community that Alpha as it stands could not support the hoards of workers set to arrive in the Galilee Basin.
But this understanding had a sinister side, as it was largely based on the community’s perception on the lack of services they had access to themselves.
Local businessman Rob Arnold said services in the town had been severely cut back over the past five years as housing prices, and in turn rates, had skyrocketed.
“How come they can spend so much out on the mines and we can’t even get a full-time doctor?” he said.
“The hospital keeps getting downsized, year by year.
“The government gains massive royalties from these mines and the community here sees none of it.
“If anything, we’re paying more and getting less.”
Mr Arnold said land prices had gone beyond what locals could afford.
He said land that cost about $50,000 five years ago was now priced more than $200,000.
Alpha resident of 22 years Wendy Bowyer supported those claims.
She said some still felt the community would benefit through increased business but most appeared to have put the thought aside, having grown tired of promises coupled with little or no action.