2014-11-4 – To Townsville – Mining depression

Stopped at Gladstone. The coal port there caused untold havoc – generation of toxic algae, hundreds of dead turtles and dugong, habitat loss, sustainable fishery loss, health problems with fisherman, scandalous performance of CSIRO, abysmal engineering practice, destruction of Curtis Island… the list goes on. The big problem is that they got away with it. An even bigger problem is that many people don’t care. It’s depressing really, so I shot through to Mackay.

Mackay greeted me with a drenching. The company was good though. During the downpour I dropped into the Mackay Conservation Group, but only Moira was home. Ellen arrived back by bus at 9.00pm and Gemma was in Airlie Beach. Moira organized for me to stay at the share house where I met Phil. He told me that Mackay was better now. The drunks on meths have gone and the streets are safe at night which 18mths ago they certainly weren’t.

Conservation is tough in Mackay. It loves mining, even though mining pushed prices of everything through the roof, and caused a loss in population of 10,000 people when the bubble burst. The local Italian eatery had a wine list with about half the bottles over $150 each. The house red at about five bucks a glass was fine though. A marina berth is still 60% more than Brisbane, so maybe there is still some rationalization left to occur.

With mines cutting jobs and increasing mechanization Phil reckons depression is a big problem. Luckily our politicians understand that coal is good eh!