Residents Action Association R.A.A.
CHALCO - JUST SAY NOAluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) proposes to develop one of the worlds largest aluminium refinery/ smelter on the east coast of Queensland. There are 3 sites being considered - Gladstone, Townsville and Bowen. At present, Government subsidies allow huge amounts of electricity and water to supply existing operations in aluminium production.
Abbott Point/Kaili Valleyis a unique flora and fauna sanctuary and a wetland sand dune area directly adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. The annual wet season transforms the area into a massive floodplain and breeding ground for huge diversity of bird species, wildlife and fish. Naturally, a vast network of creeks feed these wetlands and flow to the Great Barrier Reef.
It is extremely perplexing as to why this area has been selected by Government as a site for a State Development Area. Heavy industries such as "chemicals production, mineral smelting and refinery" should be kept inland and as far away from the coast and its environs as possible. If the proposed State Development Area is approved, the area will become a toxic waste dump built on a floodplain to devastate the Reef, the fishing industry and will irreversibly destroy the wetlands.
Bowenis the oldest town of North Queensland in an area called the" Salad Bowl of the North". It relies on long established businesses such as agriculture, fishing, grazing, horticulture, tourism. Aged Care is an important industry.
Make no mistake, if heavy industry comes to town, these sources of employment and lifestyle, will dwindle and die.We are promoted as the "Gem of the Coral Coast" , a much loved home for people who respect the gifts of land and sea.
Do we really want to become another Gladstone and ask why are all levels of Government so intent on industrializing our fragile coastline when we are so close to the Great Barrier Reef?
Gladstoneis home to the biggest aluminium refinery, Qlds biggest power station, Aust largest cement operation and a huge coal transportation depot.It has the highest rates of leukaemia in Qld at double the state average.
Mt. IsaA Macquarie University study of soil samples around Mt.Isa, found lead levels 33 times above safe Federal Health Guidelines. Elevated levels of lead in the blood affects brain development in children and the unborn. For more than 12 years, the State Governments Environmental Protection Agency neglected to monitor emissions in Mt.Isa. A report is now being carried out and so far, more than 10% of toddlers have shown exceedingly high levels of lead in their blood (this is unacceptable)!!
We do not aspire to be another industrial city as has been made of Mt.Isa and Gladstone with the poisoning of the environment and the increased cancer rates of its people.
The Environment Protection Authority (E.P.A) is essentially powerless. Under the "Special Agreements Act" State legislation, industries worth over $30 million and involved in developments of "state significance", have in effect, a licence to pollute. Under this Act, our rights as citizens to contest these proposals, does not exist. The mining companies do their own environmental reports and the worlds best practice in industrial waste management does not exist in Australia.
To ConcludeIt is an exciting time where we do have a choice. We could be an example to communities all over Australia by showing leadership in renewable energy use and innovation. Employment will be created from looking after our Reef and assuring that we have a future for generations and a place where people will want to live. We have too much to lose.
Drought, increased strength and frequency of cyclones, rising sea levels, requires Council and Governments to act now and not just sell-out to the high royalties given to them by mining companies. Why should we sacrifice our beautiful coastline, family friendly atmosphere, affordable holiday destination, unique eco-systems and fresh air to high-profit, polluting, big companies who will leave when they have made there short-term profits for the few?
Action to take
Contact your State and Federal Members and tell them what you think - it really does count. Talk to your Mayoral candidates and councillors - elections are in March!! Write letters to your local paper. Tell your friends and family and make your young people aware as it is there future at stake. Get active.
Join us - Membership is free to all with a love of Bowen and district and a wish to be heard. RAA member contacts:
- Maria Macdonald ph 47866110
- Tub Wilson 47862005
- Elvyn Smith 47865312