The “blood, sweat and tears” of Glenden residents have saved the Queensland mining town after the homes of hundreds of people faced the wrecking ball, despite a housing crisis.
The town, about 110km southwest of Mackay, was set for closure as mining company Glencore wound up its massive Newlands coal mine.
Under Queensland legislation, Glencore was required to close the town, set up in the 1980s to support the workforce of the mining project, and rehabilitate the site as part of its lease.
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But that was opposed by residents, who along with the Isaac Regional Council fought for the town to be spared the bulldozers.
Now the state government has amended the Mineral Resources Act to allow Glenden to remain open.
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Milissa Phillips-Payne, who has lived in Glenden since 1982, said it had been an emotional ride of uncertainty for a decade.
“This is my home, our home, and after all the blood, sweat and tears, the government have listened and, in the process, saved towns like Glenden from facing a wrecking ball,” Phillips-Payne said.
Isaac Mayor Anne Baker said the “precedent-setting legislation” should give hope to other towns in Glenden’s situation that “the government has the desire and will to listen to regional communities”.
The town of Glenden near Mackay had been facing closure. Credit: Supplied
Glenden’s population was about 470 in the latest census in 2021, with about 420 private dwellings.
The town also has a school, police station, medical centre, post office and shops. Glencore paid for the operation of the medical centre, as well as a pub, general store, daycare centre, gym, hairdresser and massage therapist.
The demolition of the town was due to occur over about five years, with some homes occupied by workers involved in the mine and town rehabilitation.
The 2021 census recorded Glenden’s population as about 470. Credit: 7NEWS
Isaac Regional Council will work with Glencore and QCoal, which is building a new mine about 20km west of Glenden.
QCoal had initially expressed reluctance for its workforce to live at Glenden, with intentions to instead build a 600-person mining camp for fly-in, fly-out workers.
The state government, Glencore and QCoal are set to now enter discussions about how the town will be used over the long term.
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