Clean Air Queensland calls on all coal trains to be covered.
Clean Air Queensland calls on all coal trains to be covered. Colette Landolt

QRC: rail corridor dust within Australian standards

MINERS insist coal trains from southern Queensland mines are safe and do not spread harmful coal dust.

Industry-funded body the Queensland Resources Council responded to a submission made by an anti-coal dust group to Brisbane City Council yesterday, calling for the city to be a "coal dust free zone".

QRC chief executive Michael Roche said coal trains were already sprayed with a polymer veneer to keep dust down and the train lines were also monitored.

"In early 2013, the QRC commissioned air quality scientists at the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts to undertake an independent monitoring program along the South-West-Metropolitan rail corridor to assess the levels of coal dust along the corridor," he said.

"The DSITIA scientists found that rail corridor dust levels were well within government air quality targets and Australian standards both pre and post veneering.

"Veneering is just one of the ways that the resources sector is minimising the impact of its operations on the community and illustrates our determination to meet community expectations.'

Clean Air Queensland campaign co-ordinator Michael Kane approached the Brisbane City Council on Tuesday. He called on the council to ensure all coal trains were covered.

Mr Kane disputed QRC's claim the veneers were "best practice" and said the air monitoring could not effectively ensure low pollution due to the coal train's intermittent nature.

"Coal trains are not a smoke stack. They aren't on 24 hours. They come by every now and again," he said.

"There is no safe threshold of coal dust pollution. They (QRC) are using dodgy logic when they are saying the coal dust coming off the trains is safe."

Mr Kane said CAQ would be campaigning on the issue during the upcoming state election along the south-east Queensland train lines.