THOUGHTS? KAFTA is seeking community opinion.
THOUGHTS? KAFTA is seeking community opinion. Trish Bowman

Group still has work to do with two coal ports still planned

THE Keppel and Fitzroy Delta Alliance, a community group based in Central Queensland opposing port development in the Fitzroy Delta, has celebrated GlencoreXstrata's application to withdraw its coal port proposal from the state government system.

However, KAFDA co-ordinator Ginny Gerlach says, with two remaining coal ports still planned for the Keppel Bay region, the group has launched a survey to discover community attitudes towards the two remaining proposals.

"The two proposals in question are a coal port on Sea Hill, planned by the Gladstone Ports Corporation to be built on the northern end of Curtis Island, and the Fitzroy Terminal Project, proposed by the Mitchell Group to be built across the creek from Port Alma within the Fitzroy Delta," Ms Gerlach said.

"The recent withdrawal of the coal port proposed for Balaclava Island at the mouth of the Fitzroy Delta was a great win but there are still two more coal port proposals on the table.

"Ms Gerlach said KAFDA wanted to know what the community thought."We have an independent social scientist helping us to develop a balanced survey, ensuring our results are fair and provide a true representation of community attitudes," Ms Gerlach said.

"Dr John MacKenzie is an adjunct research fellow at the Socio-Legal Research Centre in Griffith University, and has a PhD in politics from the University of Queensland.

He's been ensuring this survey is best practice every step of the way.

"Existing coal ports in Queensland are running at between only 40-65% of total capacity.

"Demand for coal is only falling and this figure is likely to further decrease in the next 2-5 years, and we want to know if the community want these extra ports in the delta.

"The Fitzroy Delta, an iconic natural wonder at the head of Keppel Bay, serves as an irreplaceable home for various endangered birds, turtles and the Australian snubfin dolphin.

Ms Gerlach said the community voice was more important now than ever."We're around the corner from a federal election and the government is listening to what Australian communities want," she said.

"We need people to stand up and be counted on this issue."Volunteers with the survey will be visiting major events throughout the community for the next two weeks and will be stationed outside Woody's Foodworks in Yeppoon from May 31-June 3.

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