Mt Coot-tha is one of Brisbane’s most beloved features; a precious patch of wild, public green space in our increasingly urbanised world, for tourists and locals alike. I was proud to be part of the successful and inspiring community campaign to stop the zipline project earlier this year. This campaign really demonstrated how dearly Brisbane loves the mountain and values its natural environmental heritage. As the local member for Maiwar, I am committed to facilitating a discussion about the future of the mountain, and how we preserve and protect it for generations to come.
Right in the middle of this precinct is a giant 30 hectare scar on the landscape: the Mt Coot-tha Quarry (MCQ). Established in 1919 and owned by Brisbane City Council, the quarry has served us well, providing rock for road and building projects in SE Queensland.
But the quarry is now well past its use by date. It was supposed to reach the end of its life in 1998, but it was extended to 2015, and then all the way out to 2032, each time with zero public consultation. The noise, vibrations and dust from blasting are hazardous to the health and wellbeing of local residents (human AND animal), and there are other options for obtaining road materials, like BCC’s Bracalba quarry.
Local residents have been calling for the closure of the quarry for years, and as the local Member of Parliament, I’ve been advocating to Council and State governments for the last year.
Unfortunately, although Brisbane City Council knows the quarry needs to be shut down, they have no closure timeline, and no plans at all for rehabilitation. MCQ is one of only two quarries in the south east that has absolutely NO rehabilitation conditions imposed on it by the Queensland Department of Environment. The Queensland government’s new mine rehabilitation laws don’t even cover the quarry. The Lord Mayor has only indicated vaguely that “Council intends to rehabilitate the site in a responsible manner” but, as I’ve uncovered, Council has no funds set aside for this purpose.
The truth is, every year that passes increases the cost of rehabilitation to Brisbane ratepayers. We may be getting some cheap rock for roads right now, but in a few years we’ll be really paying for it!
I think it’s time to close the quarry and let the community decide what we want for the future of the site. We have an amazing opportunity to create a world class, beautiful, environmentally sensitive addition to the Mt Coot-tha public parklands, and I want as many people as possible to be part of imagining what that could look like.
Please join me and the Mt Coot-tha Protection Alliance, for a community discussion on the future of the quarry. We’ll be inviting the Lord Mayor and local BCC Councillors to come along and hear the community’s views. If BCC refuses to get the ball rolling on rehabilitation and a design for the future of the space, we’ll do it ourselves!