Mine rumours false says Lawrence Springborg
IT'S the issue on everyone's lips on the Southern Downs during the State Election, and now sitting MP Lawrence Springborg is determined to put rumours of coal-mining activity in the electorate to bed.
In response to an Alan Jones tirade on radio on Tuesday, in which the shock jock told audiences about massive coal-mining projects for the Southern Downs, Mr Springborg has approached the Department of Natural Resources seeking confirmation.
The Daily News has obtained a copy of a letter from the director-general of Natural Resources and Mines to Mr Springborg, confirming that there were no existing mining leases, applications or proposals for the region.
"As of 22 January 2015, there are no mining leases relating to coal in the Southern Downs Regional Council area or in the Goondiwindi Regional Council area," the director-general wrote.
"I can also confirm there is no record of you or a member of your staff making any representations to my office or my department in relation to coal-mining leases."
Earlier this week, a post on the Green for Southern Downs official Facebook page stated that a housing development company had let slip there were 20 open cut coal mines earmarked for the Southern Downs.
"Twenty open cut mines earmarked for the Warwick region over the next 12 years," the status read.
"Exploration leases granted for the entire towns of Warwick, Pittsworth and Southbrook."
Investigations by the Daily News found that the information was taken from the Orchard Grove website, a housing development company based on the Gold Coast, which is behind the Orchard Grove development in Warwick.
The website talked up the benefits a mining boom in Warwick would have for housing properties, earmarking 20 coal mines proposed for the area from information as far back as 2008 and 2011.
The information was quoted with maps from press releases by mining company Golden Cross Resources, which had a number of coal exploration permits and applications around Warwick and Boonah in 2011.
A Golden Cross Resources spokeswoman has confirmed the information about mining exploration and leases around Warwick to be old news, telling the Daily News that any mining leases, permits or applications had been sold.
In response to finding out the information spread by Orchard Grove was outdated, Greens candidate for the Southern Downs Elizabeth Ure said old information should be removed from the internet to save panic.
"If it's old information, then that's a huge relief for the community - they want to know," she said.
"Mining is just a big concern for the community - communities need to be given a choice and it's important that the communities are involved."
Mr Springborg said he was pleased the truth was finally out there.
"It's unbelievable that concerned locals have been misled by dreadful and malicious comment by some," he said.
"There is not one single approval or one application for a mining lease access on the Goondiwindi or Southern Downs Regional Council areas."
Describing Alan Jones and Heather Pascoe-Brown's comments as "conspiracy theories", Mr Springborg said the pair knew what they were saying was false and they had no evidence.
"People have to be very careful and take every effort to check the facts - there are no applications or any proposals," he said.
"It's about time we get back to the real issues facing the Southern Downs."