Bligh faces Dar­ling Downs fury over min­ing rights

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

QUEENS­LAND Premier Anna Bligh has faced an­gry land­hold­ers and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists in the Dar­ling Downs, where hun­dreds of pro­test­ers have called for min­ers to be blocked from their com­mu­ni­ties.

Ms Bligh was also ac­cused of us­ing the state’s dis­as­ters for po­lit­i­cal gain dur­ing a fo­rum at Toowoomba, where the de­struc­tive flash floods be- gan in Jan­uary be­fore dev­as­tat­ing nearby towns in the Lock­yer Val­ley west of Bris­bane.

Out­side the fo­rum, sev­eral hun­dred pro­test­ers, some dressed as na­tive mam­mals and many hold­ing plac­ards, called for Queens­land’s food bowl to be pro­tected against coalmin­ing which they say would de­stroy the re­gion.

Many of the pro­test­ers were part of a civil dis- obe­di­ence cam­paign by landown­ers and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists to lock coal and coal seam gas com­pa­nies out of their prop­er­ties and pre­vent them from ex­plor­ing. In­side, Ms Bligh took one an­gry ques­tion af­ter an­other and at times strained to be heard over the crowd.

Res­i­dents told the Premier their lives were on hold while min­ing com­pa­nies ex­plored ar­eas they might or might not be granted the right to mine.

The crowd erupted in cheers when one man de­manded Ms Bligh not let min­ing com­pa­nies ‘‘ march un­hin­dered through the Dar­ling Downs’’.

Ms Bligh told the fo­rum it was be im­por­tant to recog­nise t hat here i n Queens­land there are ex­tra­or­di­nary re­quire­ments and not ev­ery­body passes them.

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