Millionaire takes on mining sector
THE anti-mining lobby in Ipswich has received a massive boost with high profile multi-millionaire Graham "Skroo" Turner joining the fray.
Mr Turner, tourism executive, Flight Centre managing director and one of Australia's richest people with a fortune listed at about $365 million, is heading the campaign against coal projects.
He stands to be personally affected, with his Spicers Hidden Vale resort at Grandchester in the mining firing line.
But he said hundreds more landholders, businesses and conservationists feared the impact of proposed coal mine projects in the region between Ipswich and Toowoomba.
As reported in the QT, OGL Resources Limited plans to reopen the 675 hectare Ebenezer coal mine near Rosewood next year.
The company has obtained a Mineral Development License to mine a further 9202ha of privately-owned land, known as the Bremer View Coal Project, in a move which opponents believe will devastate the region and the local koala population.
"The impact of an open-cut coal mine reopening so close to the town and the licensed new mine will be devastating for the local community and will see an immensely negative environmental impact," Mr Turner said in a statement.
"The State Government is requesting urgent action to protect south-east Queensland's koalas in an effort to halt their decline, but the government has gone and renewed the mining license at the Ebenezer Coal Mine, which is located in the heart of a well-known koala corridor."
He said business owners and residents feared more than 200 properties would be directly affected by the proposed mine - which would be eight kilometres east of Rosewood - and another 200 indirectly affected.
Mr Turner, who owns Spicers Hidden Vale, said the Queensland Tourism award-winning boutique hotel on a 4860ha working country farm would be directly impacted if OGL decided to move forward with the Bremer View Coal Project.
"The government and mining companies need to understand that their actions will be detrimental for the environment, the local community and south-east Queensland's country tourism," he said.
"This is people's livelihoods that we are talking about. An open-cut coal mine will devastate the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands of people due to the mine's close location to the town and the environment will never recover from a project of this magnitude."
Mr Turner, who launched Flight Centre in 1981, said if the community didn't stand up and take action against the mining companies the beautiful region between Ipswich and Toowoomba would be devastated.
Mr Turner said the mining industry was also misleading the public about its contribution to the economy.
"The fact is the mining industry only employs 1.9 per cent of the population and only accounts for around 9.2% of gross domestic product, which is around the same level of contribution as the manufacturing and finance industries," he said.