THE head of one of the most vocal groups against the New Acland Coal Mine expansion has hit back at comments made by former Groom MP Ian Macfarlane about green activists.
Mr Macfarlane, who starts as head of the Queensland Resources Council tomorrow, claimed activism was impacting on government legislation, particularly to do with the recently-passed water laws that have delayed the progress of the proposal by New Hope.
The former Abbott government minister also was reported as saying protest groups could be political parties or environmentalists, but couldn’t be both.
But Oakey Coal Action Alliance president Frank Ashman said the majority of protesters against the mine were not “greenies” but concerned landholders.
“From our perspective is we call ourselves bloody farmers,” he said.
“As far as being an activist, I suppose we are. How you qualify what an activist is can vary.
“Sometimes you take offence to that term (greenie), but what we’re trying to do is preserve something as precious as water.”
Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane could be CEO for the Queensland Resources Council. Former Groom MP Ian Macfarlane, who tomorrow will start his new job as head of the Queensland Resources Council.
Mr Macfarlane said the impact of environmental activist groups had all but killed the chances of the coal mine’s expansion proposal.
“We know the activists will use that process to stall (New Hope’s New Acland) mine,” he said.
“In New Hope’s case, it will probably kill the mine if it is successful and obviously we have to make sure it isn’t.
“We are not trying to rub (environmentalists) out, but they should operate under the same rules as all other political parties.”
Allora landholder and spokesman for Stop Brisbane Coal Trains John Gordon said Mr Macfarlane had no right to criticise green groups as he had accepted the role as the head of the QRC.
“That’s just nonsense, because he’s taking over a lobby group and they have the same status (as green groups),” he said.
“Acland coincides with that tenure and he was there when it started and has been nurturing like a baby since.
“He has a lot of dirt on his hands – he has prime agricultural land dirt on his hands.”
Mr Macfarlane’s predecessor at QRC, Michael Roche, signed off on the job at the industry body’s annual lunch yesterday.