Industry News

Boral: Public critique of Gold Coast Quarry premature

The opposition to Boral?s proposed Gold
Coast Quarry has recently attracted the attention of politicians from both
sides of the political divide in the Queensland and Federal Parliaments.

Liberal MP Karen Andrews, the Federal MP
for Macpherson, advised the Federal Parliament in May that her office has been
inundated with calls from residents in Tallebudgera Valley ?outraged? over the
proposal. Her State counterpart, Ros Bates, the Liberal National Party (LNP) MP
for Mudgeeraba, also declared ?residents do not want it, and they are prepared
to take the fight up on this matter?.

Queensland LNP MP Jann Stuckey, the Member
for Currumbin, also tabled a petition in the Queensland Parliament from over
9000 residents opposed to the quarry. She said this was ?an enormous show of
support for such a local issue? and indicated that residents wanted the
?natural bushland protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy?.

State Labor MP Christine Smith, the Member
for Burleigh, also sent letters to Burleigh Town residents in her electorate,
encouraging them to address the draft Terms of Reference, which were received
in April.

The proposed project is currently part of a
comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process to investigate any
potential environmental, social or economic impacts (Boral is awaiting the final
Terms of Reference for the EIS from the State Government). Boral?s proposal is to develop a quarry over 40 years on 30 per cent of a 220-hectare
site (less than 70ha in total) that is
currently zoned
for future residential use and natural conservation.

Boral is seeking for the quarry to be
approved as its nearby West Burleigh quarry is fast running out of reserves. According
to Boral, the current quarry allows for another eight to 11 years of production
while the new quarry would eventually produce two million tonnes of hard rock a
year over the course of its 40 year operational life, meeting the demands of
future infrastructure plans for the State. It will also provide 140
construction jobs as well as an array of indirect employment opportunities.

The resistance from MPs, advocacy groups
and locals to the proposed quarry site started in the latter part of 2010 and
has been emboldened by a study published in April 2011 by Advanced Level
Sustainability Science students from Bond University, supervised by Professor
Tor Hundloe FIFEANZ AM and Amy White MIEANZ, to ?assist Government, residents
and Boral to make the best possible decision with regard to the future of land
proposed for a quarry?.

In the study, emphasis was placed on the effect
the quarry will have on wildlife, especially endangered species. The University
study also found that the proposed quarry is situated within an identified
wildlife corridor and echoed a recommendation from the Gold Coast City Council that
an overpass over the M1 should be built as an offset. A survey by the students of
residents also found that they were concerned about noise, decreasing property
values, dust and traffic.

However, in response to the Bond University
report, Boral contends that as the proponent of the Gold Coast Quarry, the
sustainability science students did not contact Boral for comment even though
the company and its consultants were critiqued in the report. Boral also believes
that the report?s conclusions and findings appear to lack rigour.

?Our concerns include the presentation of
and conclusions from survey results which appear to not be representative of
the local community, the challenges to State Government planning documents, and
to reports prepared by qualified professional consultants, and the fact that
much of the report is based on assumptions which could not be properly reached
as no detailed quarry design has been prepared,? said Paul West, the Queensland
and Northern Territory regional manager for Boral Property Group. ?That task
will be undertaken as part of the full Environmental Impact Statement ? a
rigorous process under the oversight of the Queensland Government.?

According to the Queensland Government
website for the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation,
the EIS investigation is still pending.

Paul West added that Boral
expects to be in a position to provide new information about the project and
the EIS process once the State Government releases the final Terms of Reference.

?Boral expects to be able to provide new
information about the project and the EIS process within the next few weeks and
this will include information about the community and stakeholder engagement

Sources: Boral Property Group, Department
of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (Queensland), Aggregate Research,
Guidelines for the Queensland and Commonwealth
Governments: In assessing the environmental and social impacts of the proposed quarry
at Reedy Creek, Gold Coast
(prepared by Advanced Level Sustainability Science
Students of Bond University)

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