Mr Wellington expressed his support for the People's Common Rights and Provisions Bill 2014, which aims to restore democracy in a state whose last government momentarily forgot – let's give them the benefit of the doubt – that power resides in the people and is exercised by the people through their elected representatives, not by mining industry lobbyists through donations to those representatives.
We listened to the experience of Aileen Harrison, who bought her ideal retirement home in the eastern Darling Downs, little realising the impact New Hope's Acland mine, two kilometres away, would have on her family's health and happiness. When she finally concluded that life was 'unbearable', but couldn't sell the property, New Hope long resisted her request for an independent valuation. They finally agreed, but disputed the figure and refused to pay the going rate. In addition, some of Aileen's family had to sign a confidentiality agreement. She did not, and so we got to hear of her despair and disillusionment with a system that allowed New Hope to drill 24/7, light-out the night sky, immerse her world in orange dust; in other words, trample her dream.
With people like Aileen and Frank in mind, thousands of people signed a petition in support of the Queensland People's Bill*. One of several important aims of the Bill is to restore the rights of farmers, landowners and communities to object to inappropriate development threatening their livelihoods and good health. Peter Wellington accepted the petition from Aileen and promised to pass it on to the Clerk of the Parliament and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
|Aileen hands over the petition|
|Frank and Aileen listen to the Speaker|
Labor has been working away at this piece of legislation since they were elected at the end of January, and were keen to have it in place for the 'New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project'. For many people it represents a key part of the de-Newmanisation of Queensland. It was a great end to the week, despite the cold.