Dianne Bush on the family farm near Avondale. Picture: Mike Knott
Dianne Bush on the family farm near Avondale. Picture: Mike Knott

Farming family fears risk from coal development licence

AN AVONDALE farming family fears that a coal mining development licence will risk the contamination of its property and underground water sources.

The Bush family grows sugar cane, peanuts and legumes on a property of about 300 hectares, along the northern bank of the Kolan River.

The family spanning five generations have called Avondale home for 110 years, and one of the advantages of the property is the underground aquifers providing a reliable water supply.

Family matriarch Dianne Bush is anxious that these could be contaminated if the Department of Natural Resources and Mines approves an application for a Mining Development Licence in the area, which includes her family's property.

Through the support of Burnett State MP Stephen Bennett, Mrs Bush created a parliamentary petition urging for the application to be rejected.

Within a day the petition has had more than 1000 signatures from Queenslanders objecting to the application.

"If the MDL is granted, it doesn't mean the mine will go ahead," Mrs Bush said.

"They will have to jump through a lot of hoops but it makes the next 10 years of our life very uncertain."

Adam, Cameron, 3, Chantal, Dianne and Alan Bush on their Avondale farm.
Adam, Cameron, 3, Chantal, Dianne and Alan Bush on their Avondale farm.


Explorer Fox Resource's application goes beyond basic tests.

If approved the licence will allow the company to take up to 70,000 cubic metres for sampling across three separate holes.

She said the holes could tarnish the local water supply, which was "liquid gold" to the food bowl.

An operational mine would then consume much of the local water supply, which was already a concern to local farmers.

"We are not against coal mining, we need the coal mining for our economy," Mrs Bush said.

"But out in bandicoot country where it's not good farming land.

"To have to compete with miners who are then trying to take the water out of the Kolan River as well as taking it from our aquifers, it's just not on, it's not right.

"It's just cruel what they think they can do, what they have the right to do."

In yesterday's edition of the NewsMail, Bundaberg councillor Helen Blackburn said land in the proposal would be within five kilometres of the CBD.

A caption in the article implied that Cr Blackburn supported a proposed coal mine, which was untrue.

But she mostly wanted the Bundaberg community to be heard on the issue, which is why she urged people to sign the petition.

The petition can be signed here.


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