Monthly Archives: December 2013

Mail Art Received.

add to 001 C. Z. Lovecraft. USA.

Bernhard Zilling 001 Berhnhard Zilling. Germany.

Ryosuke Cohen Osaka Japan 001 Ryosuke Cohen. Japan.

Diane Keys 001 Diane Keys. USA.

Pedro Bericat 001   Pedro Bericat. Spain.Silvano Pertone 001 Silvano Pertone. Italy.

Dorian Ribas Marinho 001Dorian Ribas Marinho 2 001Dorian Ribas Marinho 3 001Dorian Ribas Marinho Brazil 001                                     Dorian Ribas Marinho. Brazil.

From Eni Ilis Brazil 001   Eni Ilis Brazil.

Serse Luigetti 001          Serse Luigetti 002

Serse Luigetti 2 001   Serse Luigetti 3 001

Serse Luigetti 4 001  Serse Luigetti 5 001

Serse Luigetti. Italy.

Save Gelliondale and the Nooramunga National and Marine Park from becoming an open cut coal mine

Gelliondale Resources Limited www.gelliondalecoal.com.au 001   Digital Camera

Digital Camera   Digital Camera

Digital Camera      Digital Camera

“Come for the beauty, stay for the lifestyle.

      The above slogan is used by the South Gippsland Shire to attract tourists and would be residents to the area, but it will soon be called into question if Shire Councillors do not make a serious stand against current coal mining proposals destined to cover one of Gippsland’s key tourist locations.    

       Gelliondale Resources a subsidiary of Ignite Energy Resources are currently applying for a Retention Licence to develop an open cut coal mine at Gelliondale, Hedley and Welshpool.  There has been no community consultation and no comment from local and state politicians on the future development.  It is true that this plan has been on the agenda for a long time and in the past it has proved unviable because of the poor quality of brown coal.  The quality has not changed, but the technologies for handling an inferior commodity have advanced along with the determination to proliferate this undesirable industry at a terrible cost to the environment, local residents and a significant tourist economy.   The Upper Hunter Valley in NSW has approximately 315 square kilometres of coal mines and Victoria is aiming to compete with new allocations for brown coal extractions across the state.  However, brown coal requires far more land than black coal, it has a much lower export value and the damage caused to the environment is irreparable.

There is clear evidence from studies elsewhere that living near coal mines or coal fired power stations results in serious health problems.  In Australia coal has become the new asbestos, a noxious substance leading to premature and painful deaths.  Burning coal is also the largest cause of global warming, which according to Britain’s leading medical journal, “The Lancet”, is also the single “biggest health threat of the 21st century”. The report “Health and Social Harms of Mining in Local Communities… ”, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions has highlighted a number of adverse health impacts arising from coal mining, they include  increased rates of cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease,  birth defects and respiratory disease.   Clusters of coal related health problems are appearing across the nation wherever there are coal mines.   Coal is the most poisonous substance on earth and the Australian Coal Alliance notes how the dust from extractions can travel up to 7 kilometres in radius causing damage to livestock, crops, people and every living thing in its path.

The required distance between a mine and residents is only 100metres.   Importantly, the Gelliondale proposal covers only a small portion of the company’s EL4416 minerals Licence which in total contains nearly 4,000 sq km of Gippsland’s prime farming, coastal and tourism region. What will stop this region from becoming another Hunter Valley, or worse?  Within the designated radius of this Licence there are schools, kindergartens, walking tracks farms and residential areas.    The proposed open cut mine at Gelliondale coupled with other anticipated projects such as a 3 billion dollar port proposed for McGaurans Beach will devastate Gippsland’s rural lifestyle.

Assertions that Gelliondale will play host to mining companies have already caused local residents to put their lives on hold.  There is fear, uncertainty and growing division amidst those who mistakenly believe a mine will create jobs and those who have invested their hard earned income what has been sold to them “beauty” and a healthy and peaceful “lifestyle”.   The mining speculation is causing needless stresses and an inability for people to sell their homes and relocate. No one wants to live near a coal mine.  Conversely, while there are plans to destroy a protected landscape there are no guarantees that the project will be economically lucrative and it doesn’t have to be in the short term under the new Retention Licence arrangements.    Nonetheless, it is a bold company that moves to create an open cut coal mine on and around one of Gippsland’s and indeed Victoria’s most prized environmental assets.   The proposed location for the open cut coal mine will destroy the Nooramunga National Marine Park, Gellion’s Run and the surrounding landscapes which contain a number of rare flora and fauna as well as having particular geomorphologic value.   These high values were acknowledged when the area was listed on the National Estates Register in 1993.   These wetland areas have international significance and the Australian government[s] is obligated to meet the requirements they signed up to under the International Ramsar Convention.

Gellions Run and Corner Inlet were earmarked as sites of botanic significance because a large number of the endangered species do not exist in the same healthy states elsewhere.  According to the Australian Heritage Database some species such as the Eucalyptus Viminalis/Xanthorroea Resenosa and E.Viminalis/Leptospermum Juniperimum are only found in this location.   Stands of mature Banksia Integrifolia which occur within the Parks, particularly along the outer barrier of Nooramunga are very limited in Victoria and also need protection.   The islands and mudflats of the Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park provide an internationally important habitat for migratory wading birds, and support an abundance of other plant and wildlife. The bird species include the white bellied sea eagle, the endangered orange bellied parrot, and the rare ground parrot.  Gellions Run contains significant remnants of coastal vegetation. The Register of the National Estate makes clear that the large areas of salt-marsh and mangroves, with an extensive hinterland of undisturbed natural vegetation and rare orchids, are not replicated anywhere else.    The idea of having this area eradicated by a coal mine is simply sickening.

In Victoria we have one advantage over mining communities elsewhere; there is still time to stop the madness, but it requires politicians to step up to the mark and start representing the long term interests of their constituents.   Otherwise change the slogan to one that truly signifies the experience of those would be residents and communities threatened by mining.   “Come for the fantasy, learn the reality”.

________________________________________________

             The Manager, Earth Resources Tenements,

The Department of State Development and Business Innovation:
Earth Resources Development Division. G.P.O. Box 4509.  Melbourne, 3001.

Re:  Objection to Application for a Retention Licence: Gelliondale Resources Limited.

Gelliondale Resources a subsidiary of Ignite Energy Resources is currently applying for a Retention Licence to develop an open cut coal mine at Gelliondale, Hedley and Welshpool.  There has been no community consultation. Residents only heard about the application when farmers were listening to a company representative being interviewed by the ABC in the early hours of the morning. Receiving news this way is extremely upsetting for residents whose properties appear at risk.  However, this is not unusual.   There have been reports and rumours about mining developments in South Gippsland since 2009, these include a coal transportation rail link between the proposed open cut mine at Gelliondale and Port Anthony as well as a new 3 billion dollar port at McGauran’s Beach [announced in 2013]  connecting to the Latrobe Valley, Port Anthony and Hastings.  These rumours have now been ramped up by Gelliondale Resources and their recent Retention Licence application for the Gelliondale coal mine leaving residents and farmers very worried about their future. Hence, my first objection relates to the way governments and corporations go about planning their developments leaving residents to speculate on their security.

                                Government Secrecy.

Amendments to the Mineral Resources Development Act passed in 2010 introduced the new Retention Licence to simplify the application process for mining companies, but this has added to the stress for residents whose properties are at risk.  The changes allow for such activities as intensive exploration, research and other development activities to go ahead even if they are not economically viable and the new amendments contribute to keeping the activities of mining companies comfortably under the radar so residents remain in the dark until the processes are well underway and irreversible.

Communities are worried because the Retention Licences can be granted for up to 10 years and may not be subject to the same Relinquishment requirements as the old mining licences [section 31[7] of the Act]. A Retention licence can also be transferred to a subsidiary company providing there is mutual agreement.  This makes it very difficult for the public to keep track of the company’s development agendas as well as its failures and possible negligence.

For example, another Ignite Energy Resources subsidiary, Lakes Oil – who, according to the ABC News 26th November 2013 recorded a loss for the last financial year – came under investigation for misleading its share holders.    Greens leader Greg Barber lodged a formal complaint with the ASX in which he alleged a contradiction between Lakes Oil’s most recent quarterly report and a release put out in response to claims made by the Greens about the company’s alleged plans to explore for gas in Victoria.   The quarterly report, for June to September, declared activity in the Otway Basin under licence PEP 163 was “placed on hold due to the ongoing State Government moratorium on hydraulic stimulation [fracking]”. However, a media release issued by Lakes Oil said the company had already drilled at Moriac and had “no intention of any further drilling or fracking in that area.” Mr Barber said, “Lakes Oil had blamed the moratorium on fracking for its inaction when it really had no intention to continue drilling for gas once the moratorium was lifted”. Greg Barber went on to say, “The contradiction … indicates that Lakes Oil has failed to disclose information which may have a material effect on the price or value of the company’s securities, putting it in breach of the ASX listing rules.”  [See Weekly Times November, 20th 2013]. This kind of corporate behaviour does not inspire confidence, especially when the principle company sets up another subsidiary company involved in unpopular development.

                              Lack of Proper Evaluation.

In addition, while the minerals extraction companies are required to take into account social and environmental conditions before they can commence production, it would appear that recent studies concerning the geographical stability of the proposed Gelliondale mine’s location have been completely ignored.  On the 10th September, 2013 the ABC News announced that Central and South Gippsland were earthquake hotspots.  This happened because the region had experienced significant seismic activation with ongoing tremors.   According to a Melbourne University geologist Gary Gibson “there were only 50 earthquakes recorded up until 2009, but since then there have been 700”.  The activity has been particularly high in the Strzelecki Ranges which lie between the Latrobe Valley and the Gippsland coastline. Seemingly, across the pathway of the proposed Gelliondale coal mine.    Gary Gibson is currently heading up a study to examine the seismic activity around the region’s fault lines.  “There are eight seismographs planted in the ground along fault lines metres below the surface around Gippsland to monitor the tremors” [ABC News 10th September, 2013].  We know from international studies that the reactivation of fault lines triggered by mining poses a significant risk of earthquakes, sink holes and land subsidence.

Studies in other countries have found a distinct correlation between the extraction of water used in mining and irrigation and land subsidence and earth quakes. Many of Gippsland’s coastal towns are threatened with sea water inundation as a result of subsidence and rising sea levels most of which can be attributed to on and offshore mining.   The “Gippsland Land Owner Compensation Inquiry” suggests that the situation is so serious that any further development could see some towns needing to be moved to higher ground.  The proposed Gelliondale coal mine and the export of brown coal from McGauran’s Beach, Corner Inlet [Port Anthony] and Western Port [Phillip Island] can only exacerbate the already critical subsidence and seismic activity problems putting further stresses on the lives of residents.

In addition, for people living in the vicinity of the coal and rail networks there are serious health risks.  We know that Australia has some of the highest asthma and respiratory problems in the world with some of the largest health related clusters around the minerals extraction zones.   As Sharyn Munro states so poignantly on the cover of her book “Rich Land, Wasteland…coal is killing Australia.”

                        Neglected “Duty of Care”.

As a psychotherapist my concern since 2009 has been the on going anxiety and depression caused by the uncertainty mining companies and governments have created in relation to proposed mining developments.  Companies such as Ignite Energy Resources and the like are forcing people to put their lives on hold as they gradually watch the devolution of market values in their properties.  Since 2009 uncertainty over possible industrialisation from mining has caused residential property values to drop to the same median house price that existed more than ten years ago, while properties elsewhere have risen significantly.  Obviously, this makes it impossible for residents to shift away from the area. People who feel powerless face extraordinary anxiety problems that lead to other physical conditions, which in turn puts pressure on limited rural health resources.

                          Ten reasons why the Gelliondale Resources mine should not go ahead.

                           [1] Roads.

Noise and pollution levels have already risen along the South Gippsland Highway and surrounding areas.   There has been ongoing damage to roads due to the heavy industrial traffic in recent years with many new vehicles double the size of milk containers or cow trucks using the Highway.    The volume of haulage on local roads is taking its toll not just on people, but also on wildlife and the continual pothole damage to roads increases the accident levels and puts more lives at risk.   Mining will make this situation worse.

                                 [2] Proximity.

                                  Unacceptable levels of noise, dust, and traffic will introduce health issues that are directly related to coal. The proposed mine boundary will be situated very close to residential properties. Land owners are already experiencing extreme stress, which is affecting their health making them more vulnerable to emotional breakdown.  Most of these health problems are due to the lack of willingness on the part of governments and the corporations to openly convey their intentions to   communities.   Many of the residents are retirees and they feel powerless.   Many have already lost the value in their properties due to mining speculation; they have limited resources and they are choosing not to maintain or improve their homes because they no longer have any perceived value.

                                [3] Flow-on impacts.

No one wants to live next door to an open-cut coal mine. People are unable to sell their homes, yet they are faced with increasing Council valuations that are reflected in annual rate rises.  The Council feels powerless to change this because the final decision rests with the State Valuations Department. However, the city bureaucrats do not appreciate the full situation that residents are facing with respect to the devolution of their property values.  Further, eventually people may choose to challenge their municipal rates and this will impact on the Council’s ability to provide services. A number of residents have articulated their belief that they are being driven out of the area so the mining companies can move in.  A strong focus on these kinds of thoughts is damaging to health and well being resulting in more demand for health services.

                             [4] Noise.

Noise is one of the main issues for residents who live near coal mines. The constant noise can exacerbate anxieties and lead to further mental and physical health problems.  Children, whose brains and bodies are not yet fully matured, can be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the coal industries resulting in life long developmental problems.  Since these problems are rapidly increasing alongside dirty industries, so too is the cost to the State.

                             [5] Health.

The negative health impacts from coal dust are well known.   There are homes, shops, a school and a kindergarten within a 5 kilometre radius of the proposed coal mine placing a large proportion of the population at risk.  Those most affected by the health impacts are children, the old and the sick.

                            [6] Impacts on Tourism.

South Gippsland’s Corner Inlet is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Victoria and it generates a sound income for the region.  The open cut mine and concomitant infrastructure will be opposite the Wilson’s Promontory National Park and in the vicinity of the Ramsar Wetlands, both of which fall under a statutorily obligation for protection.  An open cut coal mine will have an adverse impact on the visual amenities of the area as well as posing a health risk for visiting tourists.  In addition, significant depletion of the pristine environment will lesson the tourist’s incentive to visit the region.  The mine will therefore result in the loss of jobs and local income.

                        [7] Employment.

Mining does not generate enough jobs to compensate for the loss of small business and job reductions in other industries. Not everyone wants to work in a mine and many people will be forced to leave the area if the mine goes ahead. This will impact on the area’s already decreasing population and its struggle to attract government initiatives that are more conducive to healthy living.   The Shire of South Gippsland has signified its aims to bring the area into an environmentally sustainable framework and it is actively giving focus to sustainable businesses.  Coal mining is not sustainable, nor is it environmentally friendly.

                         [8] Water.

The designated area already suffers from ground water depletion and a mine will severely impact on the ability of farmers and others to draw clean, safe water supplies.  Coal is one of the most poisonous substances on earth.  There is real potential for contamination of the water in the catchments as well as damage to farming produce.

                      [9] Cumulative Impacts.

The people of the Corner Inlet and beyond are sick and tired of the bickering and pressuring that has been brought upon them and their families over the years by governments and corporations intent on pushing a mining agenda. These entities are perceived by the mass population as aiming to destroy the environment for the sake of a quick dollar.  While other more progressive nations are putting investments into renewable energies, Australia has greatly reduced its commitment to alternatives, which will reflect on the nation’s long term credibility in the international arena.

South Gippsland has been mined on and offshore since the 1970s [and before then].  There is only so much that the environment can take before it fails to bounce back.  Today, the coastal regions are under threat of climate change and rising sea levels.  The risk of subsidence and earthquakes cannot be ignored.  The onus is on the governments to make responsible decisions that enhance the lives and futures of its citizens, not to be complicit in destroying them.   The proposed mine is neither a responsible nor an ethical proposal. It is not wanted by the community and it should be scrapped along with all other similar proposals.  The residents of the region have dedicated their lives and labours to producing the nation’s food, they should be worthy of far more consideration.

                         [10] Cost to the Tax Payer.

In 2007 community action forced the Federal and State Governments to pay out millions of dollars in compensation for the environmental impacts on water resources caused by mining operations [Gippsland Land Owners Compensation Inquiry].  Today, landowners along Gippsland’s coastal region are fed up with having their lives disrupted by seemingly irresponsible mining companies and government cohorts.  People are fed up with not being consulted.  The people feel they have no voice in the political process and must turn to the legal processes instead.

Corporations are not permitted to carry out activities that cause damage to peoples’ health and well being and there is absolutely no doubt that an open cut coal mine in the region will have a substantial negative impact on residents as well as on the fertile and valuable food producing lands that surround the proposed mine site.

I therefore request that serious deliberation be given to refusing the Gelliondale Retention Licence application as well as declining any further mining applications in the region. The government would do well to increase its support for renewable energy alternatives and regain some trust from the people.

 

Open cut coal mine threatens creative community.

Gelliondale Resources Limited www.gelliondalecoal.com.au 001                                                              Map of the South Gippsland community threated by a coal mine.

Gelliondale Resources a subsidiary of Ignite Energy Resources is currently applying for a Retention Licence to develop an open cut coal mine at Gelliondale, Headley and Welshpool.  There has been no community consultation. Residents only heard about the application when farmers were listening to a company representative being interviewed by the ABC in the early hours of the morning. Receiving news this way is extremely upsetting for residents whose properties appear at risk.  However, this is not unusual.   There have been reports and rumours about mining developments in South Gippsland since 2009, these include a coal transportation rail link between the proposed open cut mine at Gelliondale and Port Anthony as well as a new 3 billion dollar port at McGauran’s Beach [announced in 2013]  connecting to the Latrobe Valley, Port Anthony and Hastings.  These rumours have now been ramped up by Gelliondale Resources and their recent Retention Licence application for the Gelliondale coal mine leaving residents and farmers very worried about their future. Hence, my first objection relates to the way governments and corporations go about planning their developments leaving residents to speculate on their security.

                     Government Secrecy.

Amendments to the Mineral Resources Development Act passed in 2010 introduced the new Retention Licence to simplify the application process for mining companies, but this has added to the stress for residents whose properties are at risk.  The changes allow for such activities as intensive exploration, research and other development activities to go ahead even if they are not economically viable and the new amendments contribute to keeping the activities of mining companies comfortably under the radar so residents remain in the dark until the processes are well underway and irreversible.

Communities are worried because the Retention Licences can be granted for up to 10 years and may not be subject to the same Relinquishment requirements as the old mining licences [section 31[7] of the Act]. A Retention licence can also be transferred to a subsidiary company providing there is mutual agreement.  This makes it very difficult for the public to keep track of the company’s development agendas as well as its failures and possible negligence.

For example, another Ignite Energy Resources subsidiary, Lakes Oil – who, according to the ABC News 26th November 2013 recorded a loss for the last financial year – came under investigation for misleading its share holders.    Greens leader Greg Barber lodged a formal complaint with the ASX in which he alleged a contradiction between Lakes Oil’s most recent quarterly report and a release put out in response to claims made by the Greens about the company’s alleged plans to explore for gas in Victoria.   The quarterly report, for June to September, declared activity in the Otway Basin under licence PEP 163 was “placed on hold due to the ongoing State Government moratorium on hydraulic stimulation [fracking]”. However, a media release issued by Lakes Oil said the company had already drilled at Moriac and had “no intention of any further drilling or fracking in that area.” Mr Barber said, “Lakes Oil had blamed the moratorium on fracking for its inaction when it really had no intention to continue drilling for gas once the moratorium was lifted”. Greg Barber went on to say, “The contradiction … indicates that Lakes Oil has failed to disclose information which may have a material effect on the price or value of the company’s securities, putting it in breach of the ASX listing rules.”  [See Weekly Times November, 20th 2013]. This kind of corporate behaviour does not inspire confidence, especially when the principle company sets up another subsidiary company involved in unpopular development.

                      Lack of Proper Evaluation.

In addition, while the minerals extraction companies are required to take into account social and environmental conditions before they can commence production, it would appear that recent studies concerning the geographical stability of the proposed Gelliondale mine’s location have been completely ignored.  On the 10th September, 2013 the ABC News announced that Central and South Gippsland were earthquake hotspots.  This happened because the region had experienced significant seismic activation with ongoing tremors.   According to a Melbourne University geologist Gary Gibson “there were only 50 earthquakes recorded up until 2009, but since then there have been 700”.  The activity has been particularly high in the Strzelecki Ranges which lie between the Latrobe Valley and the Gippsland coastline. Seemingly, across the pathway of the proposed Gelliondale coal mine.    Gary Gibson is currently heading up a study to examine the seismic activity around the region’s fault lines.  “There are eight seismographs planted in the ground along fault lines metres below the surface around Gippsland to monitor the tremors” [ABC News 10th September, 2013].  We know from international studies that the reactivation of fault lines triggered by mining poses a significant risk of earthquakes, sink holes and land subsidence.

Studies in other countries have found a distinct correlation between the extraction of water used in mining and irrigation and land subsidence and earth quakes. Many of Gippsland’s coastal towns are threatened with sea water inundation as a result of subsidence and rising sea levels most of which can be attributed to on and offshore mining.   The “Gippsland Land Owner Compensation Inquiry” suggests that the situation is so serious that any further development could see some towns needing to be moved to higher ground.  The proposed Gelliondale coal mine and the export of brown coal from McGauran’s Beach, Corner Inlet [Port Anthony] and Western Port [Phillip Island] can only exacerbate the already critical subsidence and seismic activity problems putting further stresses on the lives of residents.

In addition, for people living in the vicinity of the coal and rail networks there are serious health risks.  We know that Australia has some of the highest asthma and respiratory problems in the world with some of the largest health related clusters around the minerals extraction zones.   As Sharyn Munro states so poignantly on the cover of her book “Rich Land, Wasteland…coal is killing Australia.”

                       Neglected “Duty of Care”.

As a psychotherapist my concern since 2009 has been the on going anxiety and depression caused by the uncertainty mining companies and governments have created in relation to proposed mining developments.  Companies such as Ignite Energy Resources and the like are forcing people to put their lives on hold as they gradually watch the devolution of market values in their properties.  Since 2009 uncertainty over possible industrialisation from mining has caused residential property values to drop to the same median house price that existed more than ten years ago, while properties elsewhere have risen significantly.  Obviously, this makes it impossible for residents to shift away from the area. People who feel powerless face extraordinary anxiety problems that lead to other physical conditions, which in turn puts pressures on limited rural health resources.

                      Ten reasons why the Gelliondale Resources mine  should not go ahead.

                      [1] Roads.

Noise and pollution levels have already risen along the South Gippsland Highway and surrounding areas.   There has been ongoing damage to roads due to the heavy industrial traffic in recent years with many new vehicles double the size of milk containers or cow trucks using the Highway.    The volume of haulage on local roads is taking its toll not just on people, but also on wildlife and the continual pothole damage to roads increases the accident levels and puts more lives at risk.   Mining will make this situation worse.

                   [2] Proximity.

        Unacceptable levels of noise, dust, and traffic will introduce health issues that are directly related to coal. The proposed mine boundary will be situated very close to residential properties. Land owners are already experiencing extreme stress, which is affecting their health making them more vulnerable to emotional breakdown.  Most of these health problems are due to the lack of willingness on the part of governments and the corporations to openly convey their intentions to   communities.   Many of the residents are retirees and they feel powerless.   Many have already lost the value in their properties due to mining speculation; they have limited resources and they are choosing not to maintain or improve their homes because they no longer have any perceived value.

                   [3] Flow-on impacts.

No one wants to live next door to an open-cut coal mine. People are unable to sell their homes, yet they are faced with increasing Council valuations that are reflected in annual rate rises.  The Council feels powerless to change this because the final decision rests with the State Valuations Department. However, the city bureaucrats do not appreciate the full situation that residents are facing with respect to the devolution of their property values.  Further, eventually people may choose to challenge their municipal rates and this will impact on the Council’s ability to provide services. A number of residents have articulated their belief that they are being driven out of the area so the mining companies can move in.  A strong focus on these kinds of thoughts is damaging to health and well being resulting in more demand for health services.

                   [4] Noise.

Noise is one of the main issues for residents who live near coal mines. The constant noise can exacerbate anxieties and lead to further mental and physical health problems.  Children, whose brains and bodies are not yet fully matured, can be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the coal industries resulting in life long developmental problems.  Since these problems are rapidly increasing alongside dirty industries, so too is the cost to the State.

                    [5] Health.

The negative health impacts from coal dust are well known.   There are homes, shops, a school and a kindergarten within a 5 kilometre radius of the proposed coal mine placing a large proportion of the population at risk.  Those most affected by the health impacts are children, the old and the sick.

                    [6] Impacts on Tourism.

South Gippsland’s Corner Inlet is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Victoria and it generates a sound income for the region.  The open cut mine and concomitant infrastructure will be opposite the Wilson’s Promontory National Park and in the vicinity of the Ramsar Wetlands, both of which fall under a statutorily obligation for protection.  An open cut coal mine will have an adverse impact on the visual amenities of the area as well as posing a health risk for visiting tourists.  In addition, significant depletion of the pristine environment will lesson the tourist’s incentive to visit the region.  The mine will therefore result in the loss of jobs and local income.

                    [7] Employment.

Mining does not generate enough jobs to compensate for the loss of small business and jobs reductions in other industries. Not everyone wants to work in a mine and many people will be forced to leave the area if the mine goes ahead. This will impact on the area’s already decreasing population and its struggle to attract government initiatives that are more conducive to healthy living.   The Shire of South Gippsland has signified its aims to bring the area into an environmentally sustainable framework and is actively giving a strong focus to sustainable businesses.  Coal mining is not sustainable, nor is it environmentally friendly.

                    [8] Water.

The designated area already suffers from ground water depletion and a mine will severely impact on the ability of farmers and others to draw clean, safe water supplies.  Coal is one of the most poisonous substances on earth.  There is real potential for contamination of the water in the catchments as well as damage to farming produce.

                   [9] Cumulative Impacts.

The people of the Corner Inlet and beyond are sick and tired of the bickering and pressuring that has been brought upon them and their families over the years by governments and corporations intent on pushing a mining agenda. These entities are perceived by the mass population as aiming to destroy the environment for the sake of a quick dollar.  While other more progressive nations are putting investments into renewable energies, Australia has greatly reduced its commitment to alternatives, which will reflect on the nation’s long term credibility in the international arena.

South Gippsland has been mined on and offshore since the 1970s [and before then].  There is only so much that the environment can take before it fails to bounce back.  Today, the coastal regions are under threat of climate change and rising sea levels.  The risk of subsidence and earthquakes cannot be ignored.  The onus is on the governments to make responsible decisions that enhance the lives and futures of its citizens, not to be complicit in destroying them.   The proposed mine is neither a responsible nor an ethical proposal. It is not wanted by the community and it should be scrapped along with all other similar proposals.  The residents of the region have dedicated their lives and labours to producing the nation’s food, they should be worthy of far more consideration.

                     [10] Cost to the Tax Payer.

In 2007 community action forced the Federal and State Governments to pay out millions of dollars in compensation for the environmental impacts on water resources caused by mining operations [Gippsland Land Owners Compensation Inquiry].  Today, landowners along Gippsland’s coastal region are fed up with having their lives disrupted by seemingly irresponsible mining companies and government cohorts.  People are fed up with not being consulted.  The people feel they have no voice in the political process and must turn to the legal processes instead.

Corporations are not permitted to carry out activities that cause damage to peoples’ health and well being and there is absolutely no doubt that an open cut coal mine in the region will have a substantial negative impact on residents as well as on the fertile and valuable food producing lands that surround the proposed mine site.

I therefore request that serious deliberation be given to refusing the Gelliondale Retention Licence application as well as declining any further mining applications in the region. The government would do well to increase its support for renewable energy alternatives and regain some trust from the people.