Conservationist and former Greens leader Bob Brown leading the protest march through the CBD in Brisbane, Monday, April 22, 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Conservationist and former Greens leader Bob Brown leading the protest march through the CBD in Brisbane, Monday, April 22, 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

‘Absolute affront’: Mayor’s blast over Adani convoy

WHILE in every sense Isaac Regional Council has sought to be a voice of reason, make no mistake, Bob Brown's Stop Adani Convoy is an absolute affront to the proud resource communities of Queensland.

The convoy represents an attack on our history. An attack on our lifestyle. An attack on our very future. It is, in a word, offensive. What is also offensive is the deafening silence from the federal and state governments. It is about time they acknowledge the role that coal from this region's 26 mines plays in contributing to the wealth and prosperity of this nation.

Our council absolutely supports responsible, planned development in the resource industry. This includes opening the Galilee Basin for gas and coal and ensuring its vast wealth of mineral resources are sustainably managed for future generations.

Already, mining in the Isaac generates almost half of the state's royalties revenue - that's $1.5 billion out of $3.8 billion last year. Residents in our cities reap the benefits that our sweat has earned - public transport, roads, schools and hospitals, all funded with those revenues. A fact that continues to be conveniently ignored. Also ignored are the cars we drive, the houses we build, the lights we turn on - all products of coal. Our miners toil in tough conditions daily to deliver for Australia. But in the echo chambers of the inner city, where a myopic green mantra drowns genuine debate, the livelihoods of thousands of regional Queenslanders appear to mean nothing.

This council, on behalf of its community, is absolutely opposed to the objectives of the Stop Adani Convoy. It's targeting one project with the intent of shutting down an entire industry.

Isaac is a proud resources region and we are absolutely proud of the role our region plays in helping to energise the world. But we are also a community that respects democratic expression through peaceful demonstration, no matter how fundamentally opposed we may be to that particular viewpoint.

Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker (left) with Adani Renewables CEO Dr Jennifer Purdie at the Rugby Run solar project near Moranbah in central Queensland, last year.
Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker (left) with Adani Renewables CEO Dr Jennifer Purdie at the Rugby Run solar project near Moranbah in central Queensland, last year.

Council is allowing the convoy to use our local showground because it minimises the impact of their presence on our community.

In the meantime, our residents will continue to help feed, power and build communities. Why? Because we live in the real world, not a world where closing down an essential industry is without consequence.

Let them come, let them look us in the eye, and let us challenge their misguided belief that their actions are about some faceless corporation and not without impact on hardworking families.

But during this time, I implore everyone involved to act from a position of mutual respect. It is an expectation we will have of all parties on the ground in our community.

Be respectful of others' views, appreciate they differ from yours and understand it takes more than one voice to hold a genuine conversation.

We acknowledge the important conversation around climate change. But a transition from resources to renewables or other energy sources requires a balanced and responsible approach to the current and future energy mix, not two-word slogans.

The convoy cars, vans and trucks that follow the first seven electric cars in the Stop Adani convoy at Mullumbimby on their way north. Picture: Liam Kidston.
The convoy cars, vans and trucks that follow the first seven electric cars in the Stop Adani convoy at Mullumbimby on their way north. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Our region is demonstrating such a balance is not only possible, it's achievable. There are two major solar farms under construction, a further seven approved, and another project in the pipeline. In addition, approval has been granted for one of Australia's largest wind farms.

Across the Isaac region we have mines, farms, national parks and marine sanctuaries. Development of the resource-rich Bowen Basin over half a century is positive proof that mining, agriculture and the wider environment can coexist sustainably.

Anne Baker is mayor of Isaac Regional Council



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