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Burdekin Greens candidate: break neck industrialisation threatens Bowen region environment

A letter sent by Independent candidate for Mount Coot-tha, James Sinnamon to Greens MP Ronan Lee, asking for his support in his efforts to raise the issue of privatisation as an elections issue, has drawn a sympathetic response from some Green candidates. One response came from Maria MacDonald, a resident of Bowen, who is contesting the seat of Burdekin. The letter is included below.

Dear James

I received your letter addressed to Ronan Lee regarding the privatisation of Qld public assets and I too am deeply concerned.

I am the Greens candidate for Burdekin and I live in Bowen.

We are facing the prospect of a huge industrialisation push here onto our wetlands just 15kms north of Bowen. According to the DIPs Minister Paul Lucas we are to become another Gladstone with the initial establishment of Chalco - one of the worlds largest aluminium refinery owned by China. It is also planned to become a major coal export port. This is a part of the plan of the establishment of the Northern Economic Triangle between Mt Isa, Townsville and Bowen.

This is abhorrent to many of us here in Bowen because we are on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef at the top of the Whitsundays and we wholeheartedly oppose these proposals. This has been imposed onto our community without any consultation at all.

Government has shown that they totally represent Corporation by their collusion with XStrata in the poisoning of the children of Mt Isa and the ignorance of the facts presented over the years revealing the totally unacceptable levels of lead toxicity in the population.

We as a community here are shut down by the local newspaper here. It is totally biassed and prejudiced towards any criticism or opposition to the status quo.

This is one of the main reasons I am standing for this election with the Greens so as to try and get out about what is happening here.

It is great to come across your letter and the website. Thank you

Maria Macdonald

See also: "Impacts of the Chalco Aluminium Refinery if located near Bowen" of 2007 on Mackay Conservation Group web site, forum discussion of 31 Mar 09 on Larvatus Prodeo.

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The proposed CHALCO aluminium refinery, under current production predictions of 2.1Mtpa alumina, will be producing 4.6 million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide. That is 6.6% of the emissions from the whole manufacturing sector. These figures do not include emissions from the mining and transportation of bauxite.
Just some of the pollutants to come from alumina refineries are arsenic, fluoride, oxides of sulphur and nitrogen. These emissions contribute to the formation of acid rain. Yet here in the Bowen and Burdekin region, we are situated in the largest vegetable growing region of Australia. It will be a sad day when our mangoes, capsicums, beans, corn, tomatoes can no longer be grown because our once productive and fertile lands are destroyed by ACID RAIN.

The export of 50Mtpa of coal from Abbot Point and upwards to 110Mtpa then may be 240Mtpa shows that the Queensland Government is hitched to the long coal wagon going nowhere.

With daily gloomy forecasts with the current global economic crisis and mining jobs becoming more uncertain everyday, this is a perfect opportunity for all levels of Government to aggressively invest in the job intensive and exciting technological industries with clean renewable energy systems.

Our Great Barrier Reef does not need any more stressors. It is now well and truly the canary in the coal mine and we need to do something about it.