Locals rally behind farmers in court fighting New Acland

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Darling Downs farmers and their supporters rallied in Toowoomba on Thursday in support of witnesses attending the Land Court to fight stage three of the New Acland coal mine expansion.

The court will assess New Hope Group’s proposed expansion, looking at its impacts on noise and air quality, as well as past performance.

Impacts on groundwater, a key concern for neighbouring farms, will be assessed through a separate associated water licence if a mining lease is approved.

The two witnesses called were Acland resident Glenn Beutel and Oakey Coal Action Alliance president Aileen Harrison.

The Land Court retrial follows a High Court ruling earlier this year which found in favour of OCAA on all counts and ordered New Hope to pay costs.

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Oakey Coal Action Alliance secretary Paul King.

Oakey Coal Action Alliance secretary Paul King.

OCAA secretary Paul King said Oakey had suffered economic hardship during the life of the mine, and Acland had been “demolished”.

“Eighty farming families and hundreds of Acland residents have already been driven away by the mining company,” Mr King said.

“We can’t let the devastation continue. There is a bright future for Acland and the region – when this mine is closed for good.”

Mr King said they refused to allow more prime farming land and groundwater to be destroyed.

“Climate extremes are getting worse and our farmers need water more than ever. Sacrificing arable land to coal mining is an outrageous idea.

“Our rally is to support the farmers who have struggled against the mine. We refuse to let a mining company destroy their land and water or bulldoze more businesses and homes. We will never surrender.

“The mine has been rejected so many times because it is a bad idea. It made no sense ten years ago, and it makes even less sense now. It is time New Acland left the community in peace.”

New Hope Group has been contacted for comment.

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