‘King Coal’ (May) gives a timely reminder of the impact of mining developments in closely settled areas. The stories of Glenn Beutel and the Bateys are representative of what is happening all over Australia, but they are stories no one wants to hear. Governments at all levels are so beguiled by the short-term financial benefits of mining, they are incapable of considering its impact on the community and the environment.
The food-versus-coal campaign is something that will eventually affect everyone. Australia has a rapidly growing population to feed, but an ever dwindling base from which to do it. It’s a crucial point that governments are failing to consider in this equation.
As Pearse points out, there is currently no real debate at any level on this issue and affected communities have been hung out to dry by their governments. It is time for a more co-ordinated response with broader community support.