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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

The Bimblebox shame

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During the recent Byron Bay Film Festival a new documentary was sadly given little prominence. The film Bimblebox is one that all Australians should view so they understand these contentious mining issues.

It is about a group of families who purchased 8,000ha (20,000 acres) near Alpha in central Queensland, assisted by a government grant of $300,000. Progressively they turned their land into Bimblebox Nature Refuge. The property has not been subjected to broadscale land clearing, so comprises pristine native vegetation including the bimblebox tree, which is a type of poplar box.

The CSIRO have carried out studies and research there. Birds Australia have identified a rare and vulnerable black-throated finch. The property, 600km west of Rockhampton, depicts the real bush of outback Australia. It is somewhere these families have proudly put twelve years of their lives and spent all their savings.

Then along comes China First and Australia’s Living Treasure, Mr Clive Palmer, billionaire extraordinaire, who holds the mining rights to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge’s 8,000ha through Waratah Coal. The mining rights to the adjacent property are held by Hancock Prospecting. Mr Palmer claims the black-throated finch has wings and can fly, but where to as every surrounding property has been cleared?

The China First development project in the Galilee Basin has been widely advertised and is acclaimed by politicians as being a very significant future open-cut coal mine and a good export earner for Australia. Under China First, much of the 8,000ha Bimblebox Nature Refuge plus the property next door will be open-cut mined for thermal coal and will be sent in wagons on a specially constructed railway line to Abbots Point shipping terminal 25km north of Bowen. Yes, the coal in the ground at Bimblebox Nature Refuge will be exported to China, leaving the owners with a blight and useless scar on the landscape. The beautiful property which they have put years of their life into with such passion will be gone – sold to China.

I recommend you view the documentary Bimblebox. It also shows open-cut mines near Newcastle and the intrusive NSW and Qld coal-seam gas wells on rural properties that are people’s homes and livelihood. See for yourself how no revegetation has taken place on those open-cut coal mines where the very ground of Australia has been exported to China. Put the names into your search engine and read all about it in the comfort of your own home – the comfort which is there today but may be gone tomorrow if the politicians have their way.

Margaret Howes

Empire Vale 


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