Bligh faces Darling Downs fury over mining rights
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.