Corporate lies and abuse, everywhere. Australia Adani’s Carmichael Mine: “They were really good when they wanted something, but now they’ve got it, they’re treating us with arrogance and total disrespect”

Tensions escalate between Bravus and Isaac community as grazier takes on multinational company by Angela Parsons, March 17, 2021, ABC Tropical North

a man with a hat on stands on a property, looking at the road in the distance
Central Queensland grazier David Luke says negotiating with Adani has taken an emotional toll.(ABC Tropical North: Angel Parsons)

The peace and quiet of rural cattle stations north of Clermont, in central Queensland, has been shattered as seldom-used dirt roads have transformed into thoroughfares bustling with road trains.

Key points:

  • Grazier David Luke says the torrent of road trains passing his house would not exist if Bravus stuck to its word
  • He and the local council say the company has failed to comply with agreements to build critical infrastructure
  • Bravus says it shares Mr Luke’s frustration and wants to build the road needed, but cannot due to council requirements

One after the other, trucks cart water and equipment needed to build a major rail line and the Galilee Basin’s first-ever coal mine.

Adani’s Carmichael Mine was granted final approval in 2019.

Almost two years and a name change later, Bravus said it was planning to export coal later this year.

But relationships between the company and the local Isaac community have turned sour.

“They were really good when they wanted something, but now they’ve got it, they’re treating us with arrogance and total disrespect,” local David Luke said.

Mr Luke owns cattle properties near the mine site, including a house that stands about 30 metres from the busy access road.

He said a land-swap deal struck five years ago stipulated that Adani would build a road bypassing his house and fencing infrastructure, because the road ran through a working cattle station.

But Mr Luke said the constant noise and dust covering his house proved that none of it had happened.

Despite negotiating with the company, the cattle producer said he had been mistreated and ignored.

“If somebody gives you their word in the bush, it’s got to be done,” he said.

‘Gets you down’

Bravus said in a statement that the reason infrastructure upgrades had not been completed was because the Isaac Regional Council had failed to approve plans.

“We understand and share Mr Luke’s frustration that we have been unable to complete upgrades to the publicly owned council road and complete fencing on his property,” a company spokesperson said.

“We will continue to actively pursue approvals from Isaac Regional Council so we can get on with upgrading the public road, including the section in front of Mr Luke’s property as soon as possible.”

However, the Isaac Regional Council says the company has not complied with flood mitigation requirements needed for a permit to built the road. What better way to break a commitment, than to refuse to comply with mitigation requirements and legal agreements. Sleazy strategy.

Bravus had previously said the level of flood mitigation wanted by the council in the construction of the road went beyond the agreed terms, but it would continue working to resolve issues. Ya, drag it out until the greed is fed and it’s too late for the harmed, like my ex lead lying lawyer Murray Klippenstein, refusing to heed the rules of his profession for 2.5 years, abruptly quitting my case, withholding my website and trust funds for about a year, refusing still to this day, to return to me my case files (which cost me one hell of a lot of my savings and do not belong to him). What does he gain by harming me and my case?

a dirt road is dusty after a truck passed
Dust shrouds the Moray Carmichael Boundary Road after a road train passes.(ABC Tropical North: Angel Parsons)

Meanwhile, the steady stream of heavy vehicles driving through cattle country has had serious consequences.

Earlier this month, one of Mr Luke’s cows was hit by a truck and needed to be euthanased.

He said the constant pressures over something he never planned or wanted to be a part of had taken a toll. “It just gets you down after a while,” he said.

“The time [taken] to negotiate, work things out, have meetings, when you’re trying to run a property … it just doesn’t work.”

a cow lays down in grass, with a large wound on its rump
This cow was euthanased after being hit and injured by a truck along a mine access road.(Supplied: David Luke)

More than an isolated dispute

In the largest coal mining region in Queensland, the Isaac Regional Council has had working relationships with many mining companies.

But with Bravus, Mayor Anne Baker said the council was “dissatisfied and disappointed”.

“We’re very aware of Mr Luke’s situation … council has been attempting to mediate for some time,” Cr Baker said.

“The ongoing inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable … we are calling on the company to do the right thing.”

Cr Baker said it was one of many examples of Bravus’s failure to comply with legal agreements.

The LNP member for Burdekin, Dale Last, said he too was appalled.

“I’ve been contacted by a number of other landholders in that vicinity expressing concerns with similar issues … and I certainly hope Bravus resolves the issues in a timely way,” he said.

Soured relations

Relations between Bravus and the Isaac Regional Council have soured to the point where the Queensland government has been asked to intervene if issues are not resolved.

Dale Last has also offered to act as a mediator in the dispute.

The council unanimously passed a motion in February formally expressing dissatisfaction with the company over several issues, including not meeting infrastructure agreements.

Bravus has rejected the council’s accusations.

Mr Luke said he supported the council and wanted to get on with running his cattle station in peace.

“It’s all a stalling tactic, and [Adani] started that stalling tactic with me years and years ago, and I was too naïve and sat back and said, like all landowners, ‘Yeah, it’ll be right’,” he said.

“But it’s not right.”

Refer also to:

Study: Birth defects **significantly** more common in areas of strip mining/open pit/mountaintop coal mining; Health effects of related air and water contamination appear cumulative. Never forget: Courts ruled in Ernst vs AER that it is legally immune, owes no duty of care and is above Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. AER has no public health mandate and the Alberta gov’t removed its public interest mandate after the Ernst lawsuit went public. There is no authority to protect Albertans, our health, our rights and drinking water, and the feds have gone AWOL.

Darling Downs, Australia: High Court sends controversial thermal coal mine expansion sent back for new hearing. Paul King: “The High Court’s decision is, in our view, vindication that the Darling Downs is for farming – not coal mining.”

Mayor High River, Craig Snodgrass: “I didn’t vote for Jason Kenney because he’s full of shit.” Keep raging Albertans! I love it. The most powerful Court in the world is that of Public Opinion, and it won’t *bankrupt* you with legal and court costs.

Canadian & Alberta gov’ts & Australian coal billionaire Gina Reinhart! Listen up: “Water is more important than coal and mountains hold more value than mines.”

AER’s new “Dickhead” Laurie Pushor off to Kenney-wanna-be-Trump races: “No Duty of Care” AER abuses Covid-19 crisis to deregulate oilpatch and foothills coal mining. (Stephen Cousin’s sketch may offend some, but it’s too perfect not to add to this vulgar news.)

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