'Ghost town': Busker takes fight to Adani
HEATHER Simpson is a strong believer that our actions in the present go a long way to determining our future.
She concedes not everyone is on board with her beliefs, but she's willing to cop criticism in order to make a difference.
The prospective Adani Carmichael coal mine is in her sights, with Ms Simpson planning a journey to the Galilee Blockade within the next fortnight.
She's hopeful of luring along more Stanthorpe residents, as she believes Adani's plans will have an impact on the Granite Belt, in more ways than one.
"I won't let the disapproval of a few stop me from doing what I know is necessary and right," Ms Simpson said.
Her reasons for heading north are threefold - the destruction of native habitat, water and climate change.
"Adani plan to take 12.5 billion litres of water per year from the Great Artesian Basin," she said.
"To put that in perspective, by my calculations, that is about six times the entire capacity of Storm King Dam. Enough water to provide six towns the size of Stanthorpe with water for about three years.
"Stanthorpe is currently in the grip of the worst drought in living memory. Nobody in our region is unaffected by its harsh reality.
"If there is no water, there will be no harvest.
"If there is no harvest, there will be no seasonal work for the locals or the backpackers that bring essential increases in business to local shops during the summer and autumn months.
"Stanthorpe could very well turn into a ghost town by next year."
It's only the beginning, she warns.
"Climate change will cause increases in severity and frequency of droughts, fires (which we won't have the water to fight) and on the opposite end, storms with damaging winds and floods.
"All these things will hit country people first and hardest, but will not stop there.
"The 10,000 jobs Adani claims will be made available in their new mine and related projects will be nothing compared to the losses due to drought alone."
Projects such as Adani Carmichael coal mine will only accelerate the climate change impacts in her opinion.
"I know that not everybody in our town agrees with me about this," she said.
"I was not surprised by the scathing reaction to my offer for a ride to the blockade, from a few vocal members of the Stanthorpe on Facebook group.
"I believe while there is life there is still hope and I will keep doing whatever I can to spread this urgent message to prevent the worst possible outcome for all of us and our children.
"Contact me on Facebook if you are interested in joining me in my van for the road trip," Ms Simpson said.
Financial assistance for transport costs is available through Front Line Action on Coal.