Jim McDonald says the Greens oppose coal mining at Tiaro.
Jim McDonald says the Greens oppose coal mining at Tiaro.

Mary Basin 'disaster' claim

THE Queensland Greens will campaign strongly against coal mining in the Munna Creek area, says the party’s local spokesperson and Wide Bay candidate in the recent federal election, Jim McDonald.

Mr McDonald yesterday said large-scale open cut mining in the area would be an economic, social and environmental disaster for agricultural interests, Cooloola Coast fishers and the entire ecology of the Mary Basin.

“It’s a beautiful creek and it flows directly into the Mary River, where it sustains a significant population of Mary River turtles and it has lungfish as well.

“The whole point of digging a great big hole between the range and the river would affect surface drainage and the underground aquifer,” he said.

Mr McDonald was commenting on news that Tiaro Coal Ltd has discovered a reserve of 20 to 30 million tonnes of coal, which it says “appears achievable”.

Tiaro technical director Jacob Rebek said this includes “a resource target in the order of 2 million to 5 million tonnes of high quality coking coal”.

“This is the first of about three large areas Tiaro Coal is involved in,” Mr McDonald said.

“What we’re really looking at is a coal mine all the way from Munna Creek to Tiaro, and all that affects the Mary River.

“Just because there’s coal doesn’t mean we have to dig it up,” he said.

“There is a lot of coal there, but this is not remote western Queensland.

“This is an area where we’ve got a growing population and a very sensitive ecology.

“The people who opposed the Traveston dam should be alert to the fact that the whole area, including the upper Mary, could be affected by coal mining and it would have a much worse affect than the dam.

“South of Sydney at Appin, where I went to school, coal mining was found to have had a serious toxic effect on the Georges River, and that was underground mining.

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