26th January 2014, Australia Day
This opinion piece by Maules Creek farmer Roselyn Druce is a reply to the recent report published in The Courier which detailed the negative attitude of Boggabri Business Promotions president, John Shaw, to the #Leardblockade. Druce describes her piece as: “A reflection on how the surrounding farming in the local district was the driving force behind the community of Boggabri and its businesses”. Interestingly, Boggabri Business Promotions Association gave a submission to Tony Windsor and the Standing Committee on Regional Australia in 2012, detailing its concerns about fly-in, fly-out practices linked to mining in the region.
It was the farmers and graziers who supported the local businesses of Boggabri in the past, and they continue to support their country town.
Generations ago they helped build their churches; an aged care facility; attended local sporting and fundraising functions; purchased their goods from the local hardware store; put their hard earned money into the local banks; and bought food and other necessities from the local businesses at Boggabri.
But the whole atmosphere of the town has changed.
You now see white CRVs and utes with little orange flags flying. The once laid back country town, where everyone knew everyone else, is now gone, replaced with people in fluorescent uniforms covered in black coal dust, and unknown faces.
The mining in the surrounding district has created tension between neighbours and friends, destroying the local fabric of the surrounding district.
Just what would the previous generations have thought? Most did so much charity work, and friendship was top priority. They didn’t expect a thing in return when they helped out a neighbour or local charity.
It really is a sad time, perhaps the good folk of Boggabri Business Promotions will one day come to the realisation that the people involved in all this ‘protection of Leard State Forest’ aren’t doing it to upset the town of Boggabri, but to preserve the environment and Gomeroi cultural heritage for future generations, both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal, so that they too can know just how special this Leard State Forest and surrounding district is.
The local boys from Maules Creek and surrounding farming areas went to war to protect their country and their livelihoods, their farms and families, and now all that they fought to protect is at stake if the Whitehaven Mine and the Boggabri extension are allowed to proceed.
The local business community of Boggabri turn their back on the descendants of these people who helped established the very friendly country town of Boggabri, by supporting the mines.
This impact will not just be felt locally, but worldwide, as we have already experienced with these extremes in temperature. There can only be more climate extremes to come if they continue this mining of our resources, causing the temperatures to rise, and destroying precious forests, all for the sake of profit.
Here we are doing it all again, fighting to ‘protect’, only this time from a different enemy: government apathy and foreign-owned companies that really don’t consider the social, ethical or moral impact of what they are doing.