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Alan Jones to speak at Lockyer Valley Lock the Gate forum

Alan Jones (seen here at the 2013 Lockyer Valley Business Awards) will headline the anti-mining forum in Grantham on Sunday
Alan Jones (seen here at the 2013 Lockyer Valley Business Awards) will headline the anti-mining forum in Grantham on Sunday Derek Barry

COMBATIVE Sydney radio personality Alan Jones will headline the Farming Futures Forum aimed at preventing coal seam gas exploration in the Lockyer Valley this weekend.

Mr Jones has been a vocal opponent of CSG and will add his voice to the event at 11am this Sunday in the new Grantham estate.

Jones will be joined by Lock the Gate campaigner Drew Hutton as well as Queensland MPs Alex Douglas and Ray Hopper.

The forum comes as Lockyer Valley Regional Council steps up its opposition to mining in the region.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said the forum was a chance for people to stand up and protect the Lockyer Valley and understand the "untold environmental damage" of mining for coal seam gas.

"Australia has some of the toughest and most stringent food regulations on earth and we don't want to see any sort of development that could compromise the entire Lockyer Valley's world-renowned agricultural industry," Cr Jones said.

"As part of the extraction process, a huge amount of water is needed, the same water used by our local farmers which is then heavily contaminated and remains stagnant in enormous holding ponds."

Under Queensland CSG legislation introduced by the former Labor Government, the Lockyer Valley is considered strategic cropping land where mining is not permitted but several companies have mining leases in the area and exploration has already started in the neighbouring Somerset region.

The Government's own Mining website says the alluvial aquifers of the Lockyer Valley were recognised as a "stressed groundwater area", with unsustainable groundwater use.

Cr Jones said Australia needed gas and coal but the Lockyer Valley, which provided 95 per cent of Australia's winter vegetables, wasn't the place to do it.

"The Lockyer Valley has the seventh most fertile soils on earth and we need to protect that valuable commodity," he said.

"What we need is special legislation protecting the Lockyer Valley from mining of this type and if we all band together, we have a good chance."

Sunday's forum will be held in the park at the new Grantham Estate, Ditchman's Drive, Grantham.

Topics:  coal seam gas, grantham, lock the gate, lockyer valley, lockyer valley regional council


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