The Alpha Coal project test pit in June. The State Government has unveiled its development strategy for the new coal province.
The Alpha Coal project test pit in June. The State Government has unveiled its development strategy for the new coal province. Contributed

Farmer: mining companies have 'gun at our heads'

A CENTRAL Queensland grazier has told a parliamentary hearing that foreign mining companies have a gun to landholders' heads.

Farmer Andrew Rea, speaking at the hearing into State Development Areas declarations for rail corridors in the Galilee Basin, said the compulsory acquisitions through the SDA removed any bargaining power farmers had over resource companies.

Mr Rea's family owns freehold country 150km west of Rockhampton and 50km west of Bowen which fall into the area where government can take land for specific projects.

"I want it placed on record I'm not anti-mining, I'm not anti-development, I'm not anti-progress. I want that very, very clear. I'm vehemently opposed to a small section of the community bearing the brunt of this whole proposal - which is the landholders," he said.

"We're negotiating with a foreign company that has a gun at our heads and backed by the Queensland Government."Coal miners Adani Mining and GVK Hancock did not appear before the hearing but made written submissions supporting the SDA.

GVK Hancock says it is committed to making voluntary agreements and paying above market value for the land.

A spokesman said the mining company had addressed concerns regarding flood plain management, which was also raised in the hearing, with landholders.

"Consultation with local landholders was a central element of planning for the proposed rail line with GVK Hancock appointing a hydrologist to talk through the detailed modelling with landholders," he said.

"GVK Hancock also funded an independent well-respected local expert hydrological consultant to work on behalf of landholders so they could gain peace of mind in relation to all of the modelling and information that was made available throughout the assessments."

Mr Rea said resource companies had used the compulsory acquisition threat against him in negotiations.

"They walked in the room and before they sat down they said the Queensland Government is going to issue the NIRS, the Notice for Intentions to Resume, today. Man that rocked me. I got onto Scott Taylor, the (government) land liaison officer and it was a porky," he said.

Similarly farmer Stephen Lund, also from Central Queensland, said the SDA was unnecessary and hurting farmers.

"Now the Queensland government wants to take away any bargaining power we may have had to get some fair compensation for a rail line through our properties," he said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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