Graziers urge Central Queensland voters to protect groundwater, boost renewable energy
THURSDAY, 2 MAY. Three Central Queensland graziers will feature in a three-week long advertising campaign urging voters in the May 18 federal election to prioritise protecting the region’s groundwater and moving towards a clean energy future.
The advertising campaign, run by agricultural advocacy group Farmers for Climate Action, launches this week across Mackay, Rockhampton and surrounding regions.
Marlborough grazier Simon Gedda, who features in a flyer that will be distributed to 100,000 households in Mackay and Rockhampton, said he was fed up with politicians who prioritise the thermal coal industry at the expense of other local industries like agriculture.
“We want voters to be aware of the potential for our region to transition away from thermal coal and towards clean renewable energies like wind and solar,” he said. “We want to be able to produce food sustainably here in Queensland forever.”
Former mining industry worker turned Barcaldine grazier Jenny Todd stars in a radio advert that will be played four times a day on the region’s major stations up until the election.
“I used to support coal mining, and I even worked in the industry, but we now know burning coal causes climate change and makes droughts worse,” she says in the ad. “We have viable alternatives so for our farmers’ sake we need leaders with a plan for shifting Queensland beyond coal.”
Longreach grazier and groundwater expert Angus Emmott features in a video that will reach thousands of voters online through Facebook ads. He said it was important that the public, farmers included, understood how much damage proposed new mines like Adani could have on the region’s groundwater.
“Out here, there’s nothing more precious than water,” he said. “I’m deeply concerned that Adani and other proposed mega-mines will do irreversible damage to the groundwater that graziers and farmers across Queensland depend on to produce food.”
Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said the advertising campaign was designed to get voters thinking about their region’s future.
“We’re encouraging people to compare political party’s positions on the two big issues that will shape Central Queensland’s future for generations to come: protecting our groundwater, and the opportunities presented by a renewable energy transition.
“Our big message to all candidates running in the election is that it’s time to show real leadership and vision. We need to bring communities together to transition our state beyond thermal coal, and focus on sustainable industries like renewable energy and agriculture instead.”
The ads coincide with the first votes being cast this week as pre-polling opens at voting booths across the country.