Redland City Council calls for state government backing in Mount Cotton Barro court appeal

LOCATION: An aerial photo taken from Anthony Moloney's property near to the site of the proposed quarry extension.
LOCATION: An aerial photo taken from Anthony Moloney's property near to the site of the proposed quarry extension.

A MOUNT Cotton resident has lashed out at the state government for ignoring concerns about a quarry extension that is the subject of a planning court appeal.

In response to a petition from residents including Anthony Moloney, council will call on the state government to join it in a Planning and Environment Court case defending council's refusal of an extension to the time allowed to build the quarry.

Barro quarry general manager Ian Ridoutt hit back at the council, saying the decision was a politically-inspired diversion to try and drag in the state to do the council's job.

"The councillors should get on with the job and responsibilities they have under the Local Government Act and the Planning Act," Mr Ridoutt said. "They know it is their job to make these decisions (and) they have a swag of internal and external people to advise them..."

Mr Ridoutt said it was not appropriate to discuss the merits of the appeal as the matter was the subject of court proceedings.

"However what I can say is that no councillor including our local Cr Julie Talty had taken the time to discuss the matter with us or bothered to inform us of the decision made yesterday," he said.

"We freely open our doors to anyone that wants to visit our site and understand what our business is about, not only our quarry and concrete operations but also our conservation plans for our 600 acre site that includes the establishment of 50,000 additional trees to create prime koala habitat."

A spokesperson for Planning Minister Cameron Dick said that the department would consider the council's request after hearing about it from the media.

Mr Moloney said petitioners were concerned that noise, dust and traffic from the proposed extension would impact on residents and businesses.

Cr Julie Talty said the council had consistently opposed the quarry, including refusing the original application in 2013.

"Unfortunately, the state government of the day overruled council and called in and subsequently approved the application," Cr Talty said.

"That state government approval was set to lapse in December 2017, prompting council to refuse an application to extend the time period allowed for the quarry to be built and we have been fighting alongside residents to defend our refusal in court ever since.

"Unfortunately, despite the state government calling in the original application and being the level of government in charge of key resource areas - the legislation that governs quarries - they have so far refused to stand beside council and residents in court."

Cr Talty said the state imposed the key resource area that controlled the area where the quarry was proposed.

"They also monitor air and dust levels, which are among the major concerns of residents, and controls the road serving the quarry, so we really need them with us in court arguing these points on behalf of residents," she said.

"We have thrown everything we have at the case but without the state there arguing for state matters the argument isn't complete."

Mr Moloney said the state-imposed conditions on the quarry extension were contrary to the Queensland government's extractive industry policy.

Mayor Karen Williams said council also wanted more information from the government about proposed koala legislation that could impact on the proposed quarry.

"We hope the new legislation could help protect the environmental corridors surrounding the quarry and the local amenity of the surrounding community," Cr Williams said.

Mr Ridoutt said the Mount Cotton Quarry had provided employment and construction materials - to build schools, shopping centres, tourist destinations like Sirromet and the Redland showgrounds and homes for more than 50,000 people - over more than 50 years.

"We support a number of local business with trade opportunities and a lot of other local businesses depend on our products in their businesses," he said. "Our company has always been an important part of the Redlands community and economy but is snubbed by most of the current councillors. This is not right."

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