Liam Flenady, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of South Brisbane in the upcoming Queensland state elections, spoke with Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy about his views on coal and coal seam gas mining in the state. Flenady’s remarks are below.
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The coal and coal seam gas (CSG) industries are a cancer spreading across Queensland, and are threatening to destroy our farmland, our water resources and our environment. The Queensland coal industry is already massive and is expanding rapidly. CSG companies are planning to drill 18,000 wells across the state.
What this all means is that our food and water security is severely endangered. Farmers are mobilising against the incursions of these giant corporations onto their land and environmentalists are alarmed that the precious natural habitat is being destroyed at a furious pace.
Coal and CSG are fossil fuels that are worsening the effects of greenhouse gases in accelerating climate change. The future of humanity and our planet are at stake.
On February 20, hundreds of farmers and ecologists joined together to protest the expansion of the New Hope Coal mine at Jondaryan, on the Darling Downs. This is a sign of the diverse mass movement that is building up against expansion of coal and CSG in Queensland and nationwide.
Socialist Alliance is part of the campaign to stop this burgeoning coal and CSG takeover, and carry out a green revolution to change our energy production to renewables. As part of our platform for the March 24 Queensland election, we demand:
• Green energy, not coal: No new coalmines or coal-fired power plants in Queensland.
• Rapidly phasing out existing coal mining.
• A big state-owned program to build solar photovoltaic panels, concentrating solar thermal plants, wind power and geothermal electricity production for all future energy needs
• Green jobs and retraining for coal-industry workers.
• Stop Coal Seam Gas: Saving our farmland, saving our Great Artesian Basin.
• An immediate moratorium on existing CSG exploration and mining, until safety of land and water can be proved.
• No new CSG projects.
• A Royal Commission into all aspects of the CSG industry, and
• A total ban on "fracking".
Our overall theme for this election campaign is, "People and planet before profits". Join us in campaigning during and after this election for a socialist, environmentally sustainable system and an end to the destructive big-business system which dominates politics in this state and Australia-wide.