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QRC hit back at ‘misleading’ coal dust report

A coal dust report by anti-coal activist group Clean Air Queensland is “deeply flawed” and “misleading”, according to the peak body for the state’s resources sector.

Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council Michael Roche said the monitoring carried out by CAQ was unsound and the report wouldn’t stand up to peer review.

“It’s hardly surprising that this group, which includes anti-coal activist groups including Lock the Gate, 6 Degrees and Friends of the Earth would come up with such a report,” he said.

“I would challenge them to undertake independent and peer-reviewed monitoring, which the coal industry has been doing along the rail corridor to the Port of Brisbane for more than two years

‘They undertook only nine monitoring sessions, utilising a method that is not consistent with the Australian air quality standards. They admit themselves in the report that they don’t know the distribution of air particles beyond the railway line.”

Mr Roche claimed the report ignored some results from coal, freight and passenger trains that passed during the monitoring period.

“In addition, the study included no wind direction monitoring, which means they would have no way of knowing the origins of the dust measured,” he said.

“More than two years’ worth of data from industry-funded monitoring, using methods consistent with the National Air Quality Standards, is in the public domain.

“I would urge people interested in learning more about air quality along the corridor to visit the Queensland Government’s air quality website where the results of the independent monitoring are reported in near real time.

“Industry has nothing to hide, as evidenced by the fact that since the start of continuous monitoring, the only instances where recorded air quality was above the national standards were independently found to be unconnected to coal-dust emissions, and usually a result of either bush fires, dust storms or track and road maintenance.

“Veneering, which is used on all Queensland coal trains to minimise dust emissions, is world-leading practice and the Queensland Department of Health noted in the 2013 independent dust monitoring findings, that ‘for people living along the rail corridor, the dust concentrations measured during the investigation are unlikely to result in any adverse health effects’.

“I would urge the Queensland Government to see this report for what it is – just another attack by anti-coal activists on our coal sector, which in 2013-14 directly employed more than 26,000 people full time, spent more than $15 billion in the state and contributed almost $2 billion in royalties to the government.”

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AMSJ April 2022