Friends of Felton

A community group established in 2008 to protect the environment of the Felton Valley and to act in the best interests of its residents


Our aims are straightforward – to stop mining development at Felton, and set a precedent to allow protection of other threatened prime agricultural areas across Australia. Mining at Felton would have unacceptable impact on agriculture, the environment, and a large number of people.

More Detail. FOF formed early in 2008 and was incorporated in April 2009. It now operates as a legally constituted, self-funded community based organisation for the purposes of opposing coal mining in the Felton Valley. FOF’s core argument is that coal mining in the Felton Valley would inflict unacceptable impacts on agriculture, the natural environment and the community. While it is not against mining per se, FOF contends that the mine proposed for Felton is out of character with the prevailing environmental, social, economic and cultural parameters of the district.

FOF is motivated by three fundamental beliefs:
First, FOF believes it represents the dominant view of the Felton community and this view is total and absolute opposition to the entry, establishment and operation of the proposed Felton Clean Coal Demonstration Project. The Felton Valley is closely settled and therefore not suitable for mine-related development from a social perspective. The settlement pattern at Felton is typical of the inner Darling Downs meaning that any other mine develops within the greater region would exhibit similar problems.

Secondly, FOF does not believe the prices and safeguards currently imposed on the externalities that the proposed development would generate are sufficient to protect the welfare and best interests of future generations. This means that the proposal is not suitable from either a short term perspective (relevant to the incumbent generation) or a long term perspective (relevant to future generations). Thirdly, because of the sheer scale of the threat posed by the Project, FOF believes that its assessment and determination will act as a test case for the farmland worthy of protection throughout Australia. Expressed negatively, if the Felton Coal Project is allowed to proceed, proposals to develop other mining developments across the Darling Downs and in other iconic farming areas, would be ‘gifted’ a powerful precedent. Such an eventuality would have dire consequences for national food security – especially 40 years on when Australia is predicted to have a population approaching 35 million people.

In late 2009 FOF had more than 80 ordinary members and 14 associate members and continues to enjoy widespread community support. The organisation has had formal meetings every two weeks since its formation with an average attendance of more than 30 people at each meeting. In addition to scheduled meetings FOF have organised or participated in the following activities – listed in chronological order:
• World Environment Day, Toowoomba, May 2008
• Queensland Day, Toowoomba, May 2008
• Photographic Exhibition, Nobby, Aug 2008
• Climate Emergency Rally, Brisbane, Sept 2008
• Carnival of Flowers parade, Toowoomba, Sept 2008
• Two Film nights, Toowoomba and Pittsworth, Oct 2008
• Protest at Premier’s electoral office, Brisbane, Nov 2008
• Pittsworth Show, Mar 2009
• Wheelbarrow protest, Toowoomba, May 2009
• Trivia Night, Toowoomba, May 2009
• Queensland Government Carbon Challenge (ongoing)
• FOF stall at the Pittsworth Show, March 2009
• World Environment Day, Toowoomba, June 2009
• Renewable energy seminar in Cambooya, August 2009
• Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Mining in the Murray Darling Basin, Oakey, Sept 2009
• Float in the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Parade, Sept 2009
• Presentation to the Toowoomba Regional Council, October 2009
• Presentations to High School students and Landcare groups (ongoing)

At a time when Australia is endeavouring to show leadership in the fight against climate change, the so- called Felton Clean Coal Demonstration Project makes the nation’s enactment of policy look ingenuous and hypocritical. FOF argues that the project should be stopped for the sake of consistency between government policy and the mining practices permitted and to prove that the nation has not been captured by the mining industry nor become addicted to mining royalties. The Social Impact Assessment (SIA) terms of reference asks the mine proponent to describe any consultation with the local community regarding the acceptability of proposed mitigation strategies and the implementation of practical management and monitoring regimes. FOF provided a formal response regarding its attitude towards mitigation strategies at a meeting with Ambre’s Social Impact Assessment consultants (Worley Parsons) on 4 August 2009 at the Felton Hall. The FOF response was as follows: ‘Friends of Felton Inc is implacably opposed to the Project.Therefore we find any mitigation strategies that might be proposed in combination with the Project proceeding to be totally and absolutely unacceptable’

This statement makes redundant the SIA terms of reference that apply to ‘potential impacts and mitigation measures’ in the event that the Project goes ahead. As the Felton community is adamant that the Project will not go ahead, it has no interest in the plethora of issues surrounding potential impacts and their mitigation. To this end, more than 60 people present at the meeting signed the above statement and passed it to the Worley Parsons consultants for reproduction in their report.

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Group's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

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Website: Friends of Felton

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