Councils in Queensland mining towns have condemned calls by the Greens to halt new coal mines or coal seam gas activities.
Senator Milne, the Greens climate change spokeswoman, has called for a ban on new coal mines and extensions of existing mines. She wants Australia to focus on expensive renewable energy alternatives.
But the Tasmanian senator, who was elected with 67,016 votes, received a sharp rebuke from towns at the forefront of Queensland’s mining industry.
“A ban is certainly unacceptable,” Western Downs Mayor Ray Brown said. “I actually get more complaints about a wind farm proposal than I do about coal seam gas.”
Mr Brown, whose region is at the centre of the coal seam gas industry, warned that renewable energy would drive up electricity bills. He also called for smarter ways of using coal seam gas.
“Instead of exporting all our gas, why don’t we say that by 2017 all heavy vehicles run on gas?” he said.
18,000 new mining jobs at risk
About one in eight jobs in Queensland is directly or indirectly linked to mining, with coal seam developments expected to create more than 18,000 new jobs.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh called the idea “radical and extreme”, saying that banning new coal mines would cause “a social and economic catastrophe” in her state.
She said the ban is far-fetched and would cost thousands of jobs.
“Of course, coal is a finite resource and we need to realistically plan and invest in other forms of energy, including gas and renewable (energy), as part of fueling our future,” Bligh told News Limited.
“We need to have a balance between this energy source and new energy sources.
“But a shut-down of the coal and gas industries would be a social and economic catastrophe for Queensland and Australia, costing thousands of jobs, halting investment and closing down whole communities.”
Isaac Mayor Cedric Marshall, from the coal-rich Bowen Basin, said a ban would have a huge impact on the shire.
“It’s fine to make statements like this but someone has to come up with an affordable alternative,” Cr Marshall said.
Learn more about the Bowen Basin mining location.
The Bowen Basin contains the largest coal reserves in Australia. This major coal producing region contains one of the world’s largest deposits of bituminous coal.
The Basin contains much of the known Permian coal resources in Queensland including virtually all of the known mineable prime coking coal. It was named for the Bowen River, itself named after Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Bowen.
The Bowen Basin covers an area of over 60,000 square kilometres in Central Queensland running from Collinsville to Theodore and is dotted with many coal mines operated by multiple mining companies.
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Resources and Infrastructure Industry (RII)
Commonly refered to as Black Coal Competency (BCC), the RII competency is one that can be attained by an operator who has previously worked in the industry and has completed a number of operating hours on various types of machinery.
RII competency is granted to prove correct and safe operation of mine site machinery. It is a very useful qualification to have, as it confirms the operator has the required experience and expertise.
You can transfer your nationally recognised civil Excavator, Front End Loader or Dozer tickets only to RII Black Coal Competencies.