“Allowing development of the Wandoan Coal Project and its 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide will prove disastrous for the reef, and this means job losses from Bundaberg to Cairns”, Said Dr Smith.
Evidence from Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a climate change expert at the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, was this week presented to the Land Court in the Wandoan Coal Mine case.
“Any further addition of CO2 into the atmosphere will directly damage the Reef, its natural ecosystems and the future opportunities of people and businesses that depend upon its pristine and natural values”
“The true cost of ecosystems, human health and businesses must be calculated and attached to any decision on whether or not to proceed with the Wandoan mega mine.”
Environmental group Friends of the Earth and a small group of local landowners are going head to head with Swiss mining giant Xstrata to prevent the establishment of a mega coal mine in the tiny town of Wandoan in rural Queensland.
“A mine of this size and magnitude is a backward step, and would mean accelerating climate change instead of mitigating it,” Dr Bradley Smith said. “This mine is larger than Stradbroke Island and emits more than double the annual household emissions of all Queenslanders combined . It must be stopped.”
“And while it may mean jobs for a small number of fly-in fly-out workers to Wandoan in the short term, the long term impacts on the Reef, and subsequently the tourism sector, are clearly defined.”
“A business-as-usual approach the Wandoan mine represents will see annual economic losses to Great Barrier Reef tourism in the order of $100s of millions by the end of the decade, moving to at least $1 Billion beyond that.”
Research released by think tank The Australia Institute recently, highlighted the truth of the impact that mining has on the economy.
“The facts are that 97 per cent of Queenslanders don’t work in the mining industry,” the Institute’s Executive Director Richard Dennis said.
“While the industry employs approximately 60,000 people in Queensland, there are double – around 122,600 - people who work in tourism.”
“We pride ourselves as a tourist mecca with the Great Barrier Reef our major calling card, but it seems that Queensland is less about the ‘coral’ and more about the ‘coal’ these days.”
“The power to stop the Wandoan mega mine is in the hands of Minister Vicky Darling and Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. Queenslanders want prosperity but not if it means our National Parks are mined, our Reef is a shipping highway and our tourism icons, like the Great Barrier Reef are at risk.” Dr Bradley Smith said.
The case against Xstrata is currently being heard in Brisbane’s Lands Court.
Derec Davies, Friends of the Earth mob 0421 835 587
Tina McElligott, Friends of the Earth mob 0401 740 440