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The location of the proposed Gold Coast Quarry.
The location of the proposed Gold Coast Quarry.
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Boral: Public critique of Gold Coast Quarry premature

Boral challenges claims about a proposed quarry development in a Bond University study as unfounded while local residents in Tallebudgera Valley rally State and Federal politicians.

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 process.”

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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Thursday, 17 October, 2019 5:03am
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