Seeney leaves Labor a quarry quandry

Mt Cotton Superquarry outline

Mt Cotton Superquarry outline

Mt Cotton residents were amazed by a decision made by Jeff Seeney, the LNP’s Minister for Infrastructure and Planning on 20 December 2013.

After saying a few days earlier:

“We (the LNP) believe local governments are the best placed to make planning decisions according to their local circumstances and their communities and we are EMPOWERING them to do so.”   (Courier Mail 9 December 2013).

He “called in” the Superquarry development application by the Barro Group Pty Ltd at Mt Cotton.  This took the decision making away from Redland City Council, the local government authority responsible for making this planning decision.

Jeff Seeney approved the Mt Cotton quarry

Jeff Seeney approved the Mt Cotton quarry

Minister Seeney then approved the application which had been opposed by the local community and an overwhelming majority of Redland City councillors. Even councillors who routinely make pro-developer decisions were publicly opposed to the Mt Cotton quarry.

Seeney’s statement, affirming local governments were best placed to make decisions,  was made just after:

  • two court cases were won by the people and both the Logan City and Redland City Councils (These cases probably cost rate payers and people over $600,000).
  • nearly 11,000 submissions and petitioners’ names were lodged as formal objections to the quarry (in fairness there were 26 submissions in favour of the proposal).
  • Redland City Council voted to not approve the application (by a margin of 10/1).
  • public announcements by senior members of the LNP that they would oppose the quarry.

Vocal minority groups, really?

Media reports of the sustained community opposition to the Superquarry go back a decade.  This item appeared in the now defunct "Bayside Weekly" in 2007.

Media reports of sustained opposition to the Superquarry go back a decade. This item appeared in the now defunct “Bayside Weekly” .

Jeff  Seeney attempted to justify his decision by blaming “vocal minority groups”. He said:

 I am not adverse to “calling in” projects I believe are being jeopardised by vocal “minority groups” and I will act on the guidance from elected representatives including council and local MPs.  (30 May 2013, Bayside Bulletin)

Here are some of the people and groups who have spoken against the Superquarry in media and correspondence.  Many of them would be surprised to find that they have been part of a “vocal minority group”.

  • Redland City Councillors as 10 of the 11 voted against the Barro application.(5-6-2013)
  • Peter Dowling (LNP Member for Redlands was reported to be against the quarry as reported by The Reporter (24-2-2010).
  • Campbell Newman (then Lord Mayor of Brisbane in correspondence a dated 16-8-2007).
  • Michael Caltabiano, former President Qld Liberal Party (22-7-06).
  • Russell Biddle, former coalition candidate for Redlands (August 2006).
  • Peter Collins, former coalition candidate for Springwood (22-7- 2006).
  • John Grant MP the LNP Member for Springwood (8-9-2006).
  • Andrew Laming MP Member for Bowman (11-10-2006).
  • Adrian Schrinner (Liberal member of Brisbane City Council and now Deputy Lord Mayor of Brisbane (23-3-2007).
  • Karen Williams now Mayor of Redland City, referring to the twice rejected Superquarry (25-7-2007).
  • Graham Able, then Mayor of Logan City (22-9-2006).
  • Pam Parker, now Mayor of Logan City
  • The Liberal National Party made a pre-election commitment that “if elected to government, will use our power to “call in” this application and cancel it outright”
  • Peter Dowling in a letter to Paul Lucas in 2007 which urged him to put the community’s mind at rest, he said “failure to call it in would certainly be a disappointment and I think the community would feel let down”. (Bayside Bulletin 27-11-07).

 Continuing community action

The community has fought for years to protect residents’ lifestyles and native wildlife including the 29 koalas resident on the Barro Quarry site. Efforts have included:

Submission have been made to the Senate inquiry into certain aspects of Queensland Government administration.

The decision to approve the superquarry was discussed at recent public hearings by the Senate Committee  according to the Redland City Bulletin.

What will the Labor Government do?

Now the community is watching to see if the Labor Party will keep its election commitments which include a return to Integrity and accountability“.

The  local community wants to see a public inquiry into the process for approving the superquarry…a “due diligence” review to make sure all information was duly considered, due process followed and that all information used to approve the application was on the public record.

Long term community advocate Luke Daglish said recently:

We have all the ammunition for such an inquiry and we are all ready to go. We  have kept media reports and the documentary evidence that supports our assertions.


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The No Superquarry web site is a mine of information on the impacts of quarry operations

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6 thoughts on “Seeney leaves Labor a quarry quandry

  1. The ridge line easement rising to 180 meters above sea level was public space for over 100 years. It provided an amazing vista from Stradbroke Island, Mt Warning to Mt Barney and is now lost to future generations. Despite extensive community objection the Newman/Seeney Government for some inexplicable reason sold it to a Melbourne base quarry company. A full Ministerial review of this decision is needed.

  2. How will members of the Redland and Logan communitees read this, regarding the Barro Superquarry application at Mt Cotton. Now this quarry has a Government road running right through the middle of it,a nature trail used by the people since the 1860s. In the Courier Mail 9th December 2013, Jeff Seeney “Minister for Infrastructure’ said this, ” I am EMPOWERING councils to make thier own decisions on planning”. On the 20th December 2013 after the Redland City council rejected the application the second time and just 11days after the courier mail article, Jeff Seeney took away the councils EMPOWERING rights and called it in favour of the Barro Group. Now through a RTI (Right to Information) application we find that on the 26th November 2013 a Month before the Barro Group got the OK from Jeff Seeney, the Barro Group applied to have our road closed and has since bought it. Why? one has to ask would you apply to have a road closed and then buy it for thousands of dollars when you did not know if you would get permission to quarry. One has to ask the question did the Barro Group know before hand that permission would be granted before the minister announced it?

  3. Where is the social equity here – again another example of bully boy politics at the expense of the community. New quarry development, regionally significant rainforest and koala habitat, 70,000 trucks and all within 200m of family homes. Then the claim on ABC that State political minders were instructing local candidates to leave the quarry industry alone because their political funding was important. Given less than 10% of existing local quarry produce is used locally, a new superquarry is just another example of those who are elected to represent us, riding roughshod over community interests.

  4. Seeney has a lot to answer for, Barro Quarry Call in, Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek call in and given State significance, watering down the State Planning Policy Koala Coast, and many other disasters in Queensland, which will costs taxpayers millions over many years

  5. The Mt Cotton quarry poses a dilemma for Barro. Although the company has approval, there over 20 conditions to comply with before Barro can obtain an Operating Works Permit from Redland City Council. Now well past one year after Seeney approved the development of what is a totally new quarry but using the external access of the old quarry, Barro has been slow to move. The only significant issue is the acquisition of the public road. Some of the development conditions if properly assessed are unlikely to be met, so we must keep our eyes and ears open to any attempt to water down the conditions. It is a wait and see situation, whilst trying to engage the ALP government in holding an enquiry into how it was allowed to proceed in the first (and second) place. The ball is with Council once the op Works is lodged and then we must cease the opportunity to scrutinize what is proposed and that the conditions have been complied with. Despite there being no public advertising of the Op Works application, there is nothing stopping the community putting in submissions and questioning the plans. Plenty of water to flow under the bridge yet, I think.

  6. The new Queensland government is is in a good position to build a more level playing field and get back to proper consultation with all interested parties including local authorities and the community. This includes the Mt Cotton quarry as you say. Queensland voters’ rejection of the LNP was more a reflection of how it treated people and how it conducted the business of government.
    So what s the next step in the quarry story? How far has it progressed?

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