Bundaberg coal exploration deemed not in public interest, suspicious farmers vow to fight all calls

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It is an area famous for feeding the nation, and the Queensland government considers the food bowl too valuable for a “big dirty coal mine”.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart presented a preliminary examination that exploration for coal north of Bundaberg is not in the public interest.

It comes after Fox Resources applied for a mining development license (MDL) between Moore Park Beach and Avondale.

Local MP Tom Smith said the proposed development did not match.

“In fact, this means that there is a decision by the minister that the Palaszczuk government will not support MDL 3040, pending a right of reply from Fox Resources,” he said.

“[As for] tourism … we don’t want people traveling from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast jumping over Bundaberg because they have concerns about a very large dirty coal mine at the base of the Great Barrier coral.”

Tom Smith says the community is concerned about the impact a coal mine would have.(ABC News: Nicole Hegarty)

Farmers rejoice

Local cane farmer Judy Plath said the farmers were “cautiously happy” after the news.

“It is very, very good news for the Bundaberg region to know that the state government has listened to our concerns and has put prime agricultural land and our precious water supply ahead of a coal mine.” , she said.

“We know this is a preliminary decision; Fox Resources may choose to appeal and we may have a different outcome.”

Ms Plath said she had been lobbying against a Bundaberg coal hash since her first proposal in 2019.

“It has been a very broad community campaign,” she said.

“The Bundaberg Regional Council unanimously supported a motion to oppose the coal mine, and we had a community group based around Moore Park who made their concerns very clear about the quality of the water along the coastline.

Husband and wife in caps smiling
Jeff and Judy Plath say a coal mine would threaten their sugar cane plantation and their water supply.(Provided: Judy Plath)

What happens after?

Mr Smith said Fox Resources can appeal before a final decision is made.

“So at present Fox Resources has a time frame agreed between them and the minister to draft a right of appeal if they wish,” he said.

“From this decision, the Minister will make this absolute final decision. “

Stephen Bennett, Burnett’s LNP member, said it was a step in the right direction for the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.

Fox Resources has been contacted for comment.

He had previously said that the MDL would not give him the right to start mining but to assess the development potential of the region.

It is not known if the company will appeal.


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