Protest to fight 'toxic' proposal

Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss says he wants an “eyeball” meeting with Stirling Hinchliffe on the issue.
Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss says he wants an “eyeball” meeting with Stirling Hinchliffe on the issue.

HUNDREDS of people concerned about a proposed high-impact industrial estate near Ipswich have been told their future is sealed unless they fight the State Government.

A community meeting held at the weekend aimed to unite residents in opposition to the proposed 800-hectare estate, which could house the type of industry which currently operates out of Narangba Industrial Estate, in Brisbane’s north.

The meeting, organised by Greens candidate for Blair Patricia Petersen, was held at Rosewood’s Rising Sun Hotel on Saturday afternoon, attracting about 300 farmers, business people, conservationists and other concerned and curious residents of the Mutdapilly, Mt Forbes, Ebenezer and Rosewood areas.

A notable absentee was Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, who was in the Ipswich area on Saturday morning for the launch of Ipswich’s aerospace hub but could not make the trek out to Rosewood to face people’s questions on the proposed industrial estate.

The crowd heard opening addresses from Ms Petersen, as well as Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss and Member for Beaudesert Aidan McLindon – all of whom vowed to do all in their power to stop the “toxic dump” going ahead.

“This is a done deal,” Ms Petersen repeatedly told the crowd.

“The only way to stop this is people power.

“There is a federal election possibly six weeks away and that will be the Achilles heel if we can expose this to the rest of the nation.”

Rosewood resident Elwyn Christensen is all too familiar with the effects of high-impact industry on communities.

Mr Christensen moved to Rosewood to get away from Staplyton, near Beenleigh, which he said had been ruined by a brewery, fibreglass manufacturer and a potting mix plant in the past 20 years.

“Industry has to go somewhere, but why does it have to go near residential areas?” he said.

Careful not to downplay the concerns of residents, Mr Hinchliffe said he wanted to remind people the investigation process was still in its infancy.

“We are still looking at it from a desktop level – we have got to do that first, before we can rule it in or out,” Mr Hinchliffe told The Queensland Times yesterday morning.

“I am aware of the residents’ concerns – that’s something Mayor Paul Pisasale has also told me about.”

The effect on one of Queensland’s largest known koala habitats, anticipated urban development and the effect on primary industry are all issues Mr Hinchliffe said would be considered very carefully.

“It could still be a situation where we rule (the industrial estate) out completely,” he said.

Peak Crossing resident Jim Barrow said he wasn’t convinced.

Mr Barrow is a member of the Fair Go committee which opposed the Southern Freight Rail Corridor, which will link the western rail line near Rosewood to the interstate railway north of Beaudesert.

“It’s another case of the State Government putting infrastructure in places that it is not suitable,” Mr Barrow said.

“Just like the Southern Freight Rail Corridor, I believe these noxious industries are a done deal and when it’s all said and done the State Government will do whatever it takes to get it approved.”

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