Dr Patricia Petersen, the leader of the Australian Independents and the lead Senate candidate for Queensland, has said the laws would target large quarries, rubbish tips and high impact industrial developments from being placed close to resident?s homes.
In an extensive interview with a Sunshine Coast local newspaper, Dr Petersen said that the new legislation would ensure that the proposed quarry on Yandina Creek Road, at Yandina on Queensland?s Sunshine Coast, would not go ahead. The Yandina quarry is expected to operate for around 50 years and produce up to 50,000 tonnes annually of the hard rock resource diorite.
?The community does not want this quarry to go ahead,? Dr Petersen said. ?Residents have spoken loudly and clearly and current politicians and political parties are just not listening. These poor residents shouldn?t have to raise nearly $200,000 to fight this development.
?These residents have elected politicians to be a voice for them, protect them and fight for them. They shouldn?t have to raise a cent in funds to protect themselves from harm.?
?At the moment, we have federal politicians saying ?I can?t do anything about this or that issue because it?s a local and or state government problem?. It?s a cop out,? Dr Petersen continued. ?It?s totally unacceptable. Federal law eclipses local and state law and if the relevant federal law doesn?t currently exist, then it?s up to federal politicians to make it exist.?
Dr Petersen said that she had spoken directly to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke about the problem of residents being adversely affected by large toxic dumps and noxious and hazardous industries.
?I asked Mr Burke to protect residents from toxic dumps and high impact industrial developments,? Dr Petersen explained. ?Mr Burke responded by saying, ?These are local and state issues and there isn?t any federal legislation which can override local and state government decisions?. My home town of Ipswich is a nightmare because no politicians at any level of government have been prepared to protect residents.?
A ?pro-development? candidate
According to Dr Petersen, Ipswich has the largest and second largest toxic dumps in the Southern Hemisphere and around one-third of the city is earmarked for high impact industrial development, including noxious industries.
?I want to prevent other parts of Australia ending up like Ipswich. I know it?s too late for some. There are many residents across Australia who are suffering because of dangerous developments and it?s too late to assist these people. However, it?s important to protect future residents from unnecessary harm and pain,? she said.
Dr Petersen stated that she wasn?t against development and understood that toxic materials needed to be placed somewhere but that she didn?t believe that dangerous industries, large quarries and toxic dumps should be placed anywhere near residents.
?I?m not anti-development,? she insisted. ?And I understand that toxic materials need to be disposed of. And I?m aware of the importance of quarries. However, all these activities need not take place close to resident?s homes. People have a right to feel safe and live in areas free from harmful developments. They have a right to be able to breathe,? she said.
Quarry sought Dr Petersen for further comment but she did not return phone calls or emails before the deadline.
Source: My Sunshine Coast