Issues

Dust plume - Mt. Cotton

Silicosis is the incurable disease caused by breathing in silica dust. The Mount Cotton superquarry will produce silica dust from blasting, drilling and truck movements. Residents living near to the quarry will be subject to this deadly dust which can be carried hundreds of metresin any direction, depending on wind conditions.

Below are two graphs, the first is the model currently adopted by the QLD State Government and the second is a more appropriate model that recognises the risks to people living near quarries. This is the model that the QLD Government needs to adopt.

 

 

 

Click an image to enlarge it

For a more detailed explanation on silica dust and its effects, read Ian Bridge’s peer-reviewed paper or read the book ‘Deadly Dust’ by David Rosner & Gerald Markowitz.

Remember, silica dust does not stop at the boundary of the quarry. Families living close to any quarry should have chest x-rays every 3-4 years. If in the future silicosis appears in any family member, we suggest you get in touch with:

Turner Freeman Lawyers
239 George St
Brisbane, Qld, 4000

Despite all the promises for open and transparent government by Premier Anna Bligh, there remains an all too cosy relationship between the quarrying industry and the Queensland Government. Many FOIs/RTI reveal an unhealthy closeness between the quarries and the Queensland Public Service. Clearly political donations are more attractive than the health and welfare of local residents and wildlife. Many Freedom of Information (FOI) requests have resulted in clear evidence of the Department of Mines and Natural Resources having an unhealthily close relationship and the ignoring of transgressions of approval conditions and regulations being commonplace.

The vegetation on the proposed quarry site in November 2009 lost its protection when the properties were reclassified under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld).  The reclassification was made at the request of the property owner (Barro) and has resulted in the vegetation classification on the property being changed to Category X following approval from the Department of Environment and Resource management (DERM).  Vegetation mapped as Category X can continue to be managed (cleared) without a permit. Clearly the change is pre-empting an approval for the quarry.

Vegetation mapping by the Redland City Council has identified substantial areas of high-value regrowth vegetation within the Category X boundary. There are also stands of the vulnerable Macadamia integrifolia and the Vulnerable Macadamia tetraphylla extending into the Category X area (Qld Property Map of Assessable Area) Lot17 RP108970. There is also occurrence of the Endangered Corchorus cunninghamii and the regionally significant Archontophoenix cunninghamiana and Cyathea cooperi.”

These plants run into the Category X area (Property Map of Assessable Vegetation) Lot17 RP108970.  There is an objective to protect wild populations of Macadamias and the classification of Category X (not containing any assessable vegetation) is inconsistent and assessment should be required before development.  There is also substantial soil instability around these sites.

Redland City Council has recognised that the site contains remnant “of concern” and endangered ecosystems.  The concerns in relation to the reclassification were raised with the State Department of Natural Resources (now DERM) but the response received from internal sources within the department responsible suggests that a proper evaluation of the vegetation was not conducted.

The Commonwealth Environment agency does not support our view that the current situation with respect to endangered vegetation is that clearing, without a proper assessment of the site is a threatening process for vegetation communities which are listed within the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwth).

It seems that the change of vegetation category has been made without a full ground-truthing of the actual site — an issue which we will to continue to pursue.