Iconic Australian manufacturer and exporter Packer Leather calls United’s CAT Dp25Ns to lift efficiency

Queensland Exporter of the Year and leading manufacturer of iconic kangaroo leather products Packer Leather is investing in a growing fleet of Caterpillar DPN25N lift trucks to safely handle processes vital to its efficiency, uptime and competitiveness on local and world markets. 

The fifth generation family business, established in 1891, sells its light, tough and supple product to manufacturers of global brands of premium products including football boots, MotoGP suits, firefighter gloves, cycling gloves, saddlery and hiking shores, delivering a product that has many times the tensile strength of cowhide and is considerably stronger than goatskin.

Operating on a national and world stage –where its export achievements were recently recognised by Queensland premier Anastacia Palaszczuk in the Queensland Premier’s Export Awards –Packer Leather operates in an environment where reliability and delivery performance are vital and safety is mandatory.

According to Packer Leather’s International Marketing and Sales Manager, Mark Hourigan, “The forklifts are a key part of our production process.”

“During production, the leather can be moved between four sheds, five separate work areas and three storage locations. Depending on the product this can mean as many as nine separate pallet movements via a forklift, with each pallet of leather weighing between 500kg and 1,500kg. The caterpillar forklifts handle this workload with ease.”

Packer Leather recently expanded its fleet of DP25Ns to four, extending the excellent relationship built up over 20 years between United Forklift and Access Solutions’ Queensland Manager Garth Grams and Packer Leather Principal Lindsay Packer.

In addition to the service support offered by United, the CAT DP25N’s dependable and easy-to-service engines offer an excellent blend of power and performance with the advantage of low fuel consumption and emissions, making them easy and economical to use.

Ideal for industrial applications, the trucks achieve outstanding traction on sloping or slippery surfaces with solid pneumatic tyres providing excellent operator comfort.

“Key standout advantages for us are the built-in safety features and the high-visibility paintwork,” said Mr Hourigan. “With so many varied forklift movements taking place in a factory with 120 staff, safety qualities and strong visibility are highly valued. These are features that are most appreciated by staff.” DP25N features include:

  • LED lights on the front work lights, with front/rear combination lights that enhance visibility while reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.
  • LCD display provides extensive information on truck operation and maintenance state. It also indicates service requirements to prevent unexpected downtime and cost due to unscheduled maintenance and service.
  • Modern design techniques in combination with long life of components result in a long service interval reducing the total cost of ownership.
  • Vehicle Control Module manages various truck and operator functions allowing easy trouble shooting and pin pointing of problems

Garth Grams says United’s customer-focused service ethos is a good fit with that of Packer Leather, which is an international leader in high performance leather with a reputation for quality and innovation.

“Packer Leather have a variety of specialised production processes to serve their diverse retail and export markets, in which our technology is extensively involved.”

“Through the company’s R and D capability, their leather can be customised with a variety of colours, finishes and technical attributes to suit specialised applications. Packer leather is one of a handful of tanneries worldwide who can provide this service as a part of a supply chain extending from the factory floor to the customer’s door.”

“Service is important throughout their finely tuned supply chain, including our service backing for first-rate dependable product such as the DP25Ns.”

United Forklift and Access Solutions is one of Australia’s largest privately owned forklift and access equipment companies, with a company footprint extending across Australian markets, enabling it to offer a truly national solution that remains responsive to local conditions.

Brambles included for second year in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index

The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI) has recognised a Brambles Limited in corporate social responsibility (CSR) for the second consecutive year.

By conducting an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, issues assessed include corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply-chain standards and labor practices.

Brambles recorded a strong performance in the codes of conduct and corporate governance categories, scoring well in climate strategy and environmental policy.

Brambles’ Head of Sustainability, Juan Jose Freijo said, “Brambles is built on principles that are inherently sustainable. We are focused on building a long-term, sustainable business that serves our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities in which we operate.”

317 global companies are included on the DJSI, many of which are identified as leaders in the areas of sustainable economic, environmental and social performance.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to the world’s biggest manufacturers and retailers, many of which are drawn to the S&P Global Broad Market Index to find the top 10% for sustainability in each respective industry. 

Four ways to boost Australia’s economy that can help the climate

In a recent paper we modelled the likely future supply limits of fossil fuels, and when we might expect to reach “peak” fossil fuel.

Our “best guess” was that global fossil fuel production may peak as early as the mid 2020s, driven by the peaking of coal production in China. We argued that this will increasingly make alternative energy (renewables and nuclear) a strategic pathway for Chinese energy and economic security.

In turn this may see China pressuring for increasing global emissions reductions to boost exports from its alternative energy manufacturing industry. This could tip the balance in future international climate negotiations.

In Australia the story is very different. Domestic oil production is collapsing. However, gas and coal resources are abundant enough to service strong export growth past mid-century (although not enough to provide for China’s future energy demand).

The Chinese case exemplifies that action on climate change can be a “no regrets” policy when it complements efforts to improve energy and economic security – that is, when a policy helps deal with all three challenges. Because their fossil fuel reserves have or are peaking, both the EU and China will improve energy security by switching to domestic alternative energy production. They will also improve economic security by avoiding economic leakage through large energy imports.

With our large coal and gas export industries the immediate “no regrets” options for Australia might seem elusive. But Australia needs to prepare for a possible tipping point in alternative energy production, and global climate agreements that may affect our coal and gas exports.

Australian fossil fuel resources

Our work has looked at the geological limits to fossil fuel production assuming no global action to limit emissions and no breakthroughs in alternative energy technologies.

Obviously people are working hard on both of these important issues so consider our modelling below as an upper limit of what Australian fossil fuel resources are capable of rather than a forecast of actual production.

Projections for Australia’s fossil fuel supply.
Gary Ellem

Summing up Australia’s fossil fuel resource availability:

Oil – Poor. Domestic conventional oil production has peaked and we are increasingly import dependent. The growing scale of imports mean that we are basically selling coal to buy oil. Alarmingly, Australia also lacks adequate short term stocks to ride out supply disruptions.

There are substantial kerogen oil resources in Queensland but these are unconventional and are at the expensive and emissions intensive end of the spectrum. Production is currently at the demonstration plant level, so any production of such oil would be starting from a standing start and could take decades to grow to appreciable scale.

Gas – Good but no longer cheap. We have enough conventional and unconventional resources to support a growing LNG export sector, provided international gas prices remain strong. Domestic prices are likely to increasingly reflect international prices.

Coal – Abundant. There are enough black coal resources in New South Wales and Queensland to support export growth of this dominant export commodity for another few decades and the vast brown coal resource in Victoria has barely been tapped.

These assessments are purely of the resource scale and do not involve an assessment of local impacts to communities, land, air, water that must also be integral to extraction approval licencing.

Australia’s coal resources.
Geoscience Australia, CC BY

Coal puts Australia in a tight spot

The strategic situation for Australia in terms of energy and climate is complicated by the abundance of our low cost coal reserves. These not only provide the bulk of low cost (provided emissions are not considered) power in our electricity network, but along with gas form the basis of two significant national export sectors.

The poor progress of carbon capture and storage technologies on delivering a low cost, workable and safe way to eliminate emissions from fossil fuel power stations means that the growth of coal and gas would seem at strategic odds with efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

To Australians then, climate action equals a cost to energy and the economy. This makes it challenging to develop policy with the full support of the Australian public.

We should be kind to each other in this ongoing discussion. There are strong and legitimate arguments from those that prioritise climate action and those that prioritise national energy and economic security, neither of which are likely to disappear in the short term.

Developing a bipartisan strategy for Australian economic, energy and climate security will be difficult if we continue to focus on areas that are trapped in this strategic “climate vs economy” conundrum. To get anywhere requires long term policy commitment that will last through successive governments of all persuasions.

To try a different path, we’ve used our knowledge of Australian fossil fuel reserves to suggest four “no regrets” policy areas that can benefit climate, energy and economic challenges all together.

1. Become a leader in smart transport

Australia’s dependence on the private passenger car is now a strategic economic, energy and climate security weakness and will cost us in the ballpark of A$1 trillion in car and oil imports over the next 10 years.

This economic leakage is reducing GDP growth by 4.5% with a subsequent opportunity cost of approximately 500,000 jobs across the economy.

Australia could and should be a leader in dramatically reducing car and oil imports. One technology that can do this is driverless electric cars. Companies such as Google and Uber are vying to be the first to offer a low cost driverless transport service that can give you better service than the private car.

Electricity is a lower cost and more easily managed energy source for driverless transport, so driverless share cars will likely drive the rapid uptake of electric vehicles.

Along with a railway backbone for high density corridors and longer trips, this could reduce car ownership and oil consumption (and hence imports) by up to 90% and lay the foundation for emissions reduction through low-carbon electricity.

2. Greener mining

The long term future of Australia’s coal export sector is fundamentally uncertain at this point. If China manages to pull off its alternative energy switch, they will lay the technology and industrial foundation to replace our export markets, or at least crash the price by providing a low cost alternative.

It’s not helpful to see this as a debate between coal v cleantech (cleantech includes renewable energy technologies and accompanying technologies such as smart grids, electric vehicles and energy storage). Strategically-speaking, it would be better to look at what value cleantech can add to coal and other mining activities.

At the moment much of the revenue received from mining bounces back out of the country again to pay for oil and technology imports – much of it used to conduct the mining process itself.

By greening the mining supply chain (for example through biofuels, automation, electrification with renewable energy, greener explosives) more of the costs can be captured locally, supporting both mining supply chain and cleantech industry development.

This could be supported through the federal government’s Mining Equipment Technology and Services Growth Centre. Strategically this means a higher national return from any future coal and other mining exports, and a guarantee that it supports cleantech industry development.

If we are smart we will use the international market connections and knowhow of our mining sector to support cleantech exports, which will become increasingly essential if export coal demand crashes.

3. A renewable gas target

The current renewable energy target is really a renewable electricity target. This neglects the long term future of Australia’s gas network and misses opportunities for agricultural regions to enter into the Australian energy sector.

A renewable gas target would represent a strategic plan to develop Australian biogas technologies and agricultural energy supply chains in regional Australia. It would also support consumer choice for gas as a renewable energy option, especially in distributed tri-generation.

Connecting renewable gas targets to unconventional gas projects would ensure better regional value-adding and the processing infrastructure for a continued regional biogas industry that endures long after local gas wells have gone into decline.

4. Doubling energy productivity

Improving energy productivity is an essential part of increasing economic productivity and improving energy security.

Australia is falling behind on improving energy productivity. By contrast, the USA has adopted a target of doubling energy productivity by 2030.

Increasing mandatory energy efficiency standards make the job easier for the consumer by eliminating poorly-designed products and processes in addition to spurious advertising.

Given our rising oil imports costs, it is in Australia’s strategic interest to take action to drastically reduce our fuel consumption in passenger and freight transport.

How Australia can dramatically lift its energy productivity across industry sectors is being explored in the Australian Energy Productivity Roadmap.

Can you suggest more? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Further reading:

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

The battle over Abbot Point risks losing the Great Barrier Reef war

“Save the reef” has become a popular catch-cry among many environment groups, with Greenpeace’s Great Barrier Reef website shared more than 125,000 times on social media to date. It and many similar campaigns have focused heavily on “massive dredging, dumping and shipping” for coal and gas ports, particularly the recent Abbot Point dredging decision.

There is no doubt that there are reasons to be gravely concerned about the Great Barrier Reef, with less coral in some parts of the 2300 km ecosystem than three decades ago (the finer points of the issue are detailed here, here, here
and here).

Yet groups such such as Greenpeace, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), WWF, as well as The Greens, some scientists and, increasingly, the media and community, are wrong to portray dredging and dredge spoil disposal as a major threat to the reef’s survival.

This deliberate misrepresentation of the facts is evidenced in a recent comment by Felicity Wishart from the AMCS that: “If we are scaremongering it’s because the evidence is clear that there are real concerns to be worried about.”

Rather than saving the reef from decline, “scaremongering” over the Abbot Point dredging plan and the subsequent diversion of management, research and conservation efforts, are now threatening to undermine efforts at tackling the more serious issues facing the reef.

We risk seeing hundreds of millions of dollars poured into studies, offsets, monitoring, campaigning, legal costs and holding costs unrelated to the major factors that really affect the reef – just at a time when every available dollar is needed to focus on measures aimed at improving the reef’s resilience.

Wanted: reef science free from politics

According to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, nearly half of the reef’s decline to date (mostly in the southern part of the reef) can be attributed to impacts from cyclones, 42% to the crown-of-thorns starfish, and 10% to coral bleaching.

It is clear that the Abbot Point disposal site has no coral or seagrass and that risks from dredge spoil are low. Even ardent opponents of dredging have acknowledged that it is possible to manage port developments properly, pointing to the 1993 dredging at Townsville as an example.

Of the many dredging programs in Australia, there are few cases in which trigger levels have even been breached, and none where impacts have exceeded those that were predicted.

If coral really has declined by half since 1985, as reported by the Australian Institute of Marine Science study, Australia appears to have as little as a decade to identify solutions, and then another decade to trial, implement, and scale them up.

If that time frame is correct, then it is even more urgent that we avoid devaluing the role of science in helping us “manage, mitigate, adapt or even discover solutions”, as Australia’s Chief Scientist Ian Chubb recently wrote on The Conversation.

A more urgent set of priorities

Granted, scientists need to get better at predicting and measuring the low-level, long-term, far-field and cumulative effects of dredging.

However, most of the technical ambiguity around dredging impacts is about fine-tuning tactical operational issues of dredge operation, or the optimum location of material placement to achieve a balance of community priorities.

The more important science challenges for the future health of the Great Barrier Reef are aimed at sustaining its various uses. These include improving our knowledge of how the reef changes and adapts to disturbance, and learning how to manage the reef to minimise harm and to boost its ability to recover. These will involve refocussing a bewildering array of scientific resources into a unified strategy.

So what should we be putting more effort into if we’re to look after the health of the Great Barrier Reef in a future that includes accelerating change?

Significant funds that might otherwise go to research are currently spent on trying to remove Crown-of-Thorns Starfish, even though scientists acknowledge that “manual killing can only work on the scale of a few hundred square metres”. This is despite the fact that the causes of outbreaks are still inferred, rather than known with any confidence.

Nutrients in municipal sewage are discharged all year round, but the relative risk this poses to the reef compared to that in agricultural runoff and flood waters, is still unclear.

Maintenance dredging, which involves the removal of fine sediments from near the coast, has the potential to reduce catchment-generated fine sediments that impact coastal reefs. The extent of this possible benefit has not been studied.

The ultimate problem is that the body of science available is often incomplete and there is no overarching, risk-based synthesis.


If the Reef indeed faces accelerating change at a time when human uses also continue to accelerate, then it is inevitable that intervention programs for high value reefs – currently confined mainly to small-scale starfish control and coral reseeding – may become more urgent.

Mangroves, corals, seagrasses, fisheries and even the seabed itself are all capable of deliberate manipulation if it were deemed necessary to do so to protect, preserve or enhance a use or value of the reef. Options like building artificial coastal wetlands or even “barrier islands” to protect the coast might seem outlandish, but are technically feasible.

Yet little of the underlying science for this has been done, leaving a significant policy gap to guide potential future works. We should start studying these problems now.

Barriers to decision-making

As scientists, we like to imagine that regulators devour our work and convert it into useful policy. The unfortunate reality is that our work is unintelligible to all but a handful of people, and in the real world, reef users struggle to adapt their everyday practices to such complex advice.

For instance, reef managers now insist that industries that use the reef should incorporate the concept of resilience into their impact assessments. But many are understandably frustrated at being asked to adopt something so poorly defined.

Scientists need to rise to the challenge of translating their work into practical guidelines that can be implemented today. In the words of another contributor to The Conversation, “scientists should be provoked into thinking about the way science advice is given and how they communicate”.

This also means shying away from “scaremongering” that masks the real issues, creates widespread confusion and destroys the public’s confidence in their ability to rely on scientists. Its time for scientists to reject scaremongering or distortion of their results; to produce more cogent and practical guidance for policy makers; and to restore the faith of the community in science as a tool to help solve environmental problems. For the Great Barrier Reef, the clock is ticking.

This article was co-authored by Dr Brett Kettle, a marine scientist with 30 years of experience consulting to industry, government and the community. Among other projects, he managed the 1993 dredging at the Port of Townsville, which research scientists have recommended as “a model for all large development projects”. He also led the team of scientists that developed light-based thresholds for managing seagrasses during dredging.

The Conversation

Alison Jones does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Environment Minister to visit Abbot Point as decision on approval looms

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt will visit Abbot Point coal terminal today as the decision to approve or reject its proposed expansion draws closer.

Hunt last week delayed making a decision on the project until December 13, stating more time was needed to assess its potential impacts.

Hunt is expected to meet with the fishing industry, tourism operators and business representatives during his tour.

The $6.2 billion expansion of the coal port would see four additional coal terminals built; which would provide an extra annual capacity of 120 million tonnes and would support the developments in the Bowen, Surat, and Galilee Basins of Queensland.

Combined with other port expansions, this latest development would make Abbot Point one of the world’s largest coal ports, boasting seven terminals and a capacity of almost 300 million tonnes annually.

There is strong support from Bowen locals who want to see the expansion go ahead with more than 600 hundred people attending a rally in July urging the Federal Government to back the project.

However environmental activists are calling on the expansion to be dumped with concerns that dredging at the site will have widespread impacts.

WWF Australia spokesman Richard Leck said the government would have no choice but to dismiss the proposal, The Chronicle reported.

“Once all impacts are fully considered, we believe the government will have little choice but to eventually reject this application for Abbot Point and rule out Reef dumping altogether,” Leck said.

While Greens Senator Larissa Waters has also called on the government to reject the project.

“There’s a proposal for three million cubic metres of dredging in the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area and then dumping that sea bed right back into marine park waters,” Waters said.

“The sediment doesn’t sit where it’s placed, it can move.”

DB Schenker open $8.5m logistics distribution centre

DB Schenker have opened a new $8.5m distribution centre in Altona.

The Schenker Australia facility, opened by Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Roads, Terry Mulder is a specially adapted eco-friendly building doing its part in reducing CO2 emissions.

Eco-friendly features in the new logistics distribution centre include low emission T5 lighting, an innovation that is expected to save emissions equivalent to the output of 13 residential homes annually, in addition to rainwater harvesting.

Schenker Australia CEO Ron Koehler explains that the T5 fluorescent lighting installed at Altona is one of the smartest options around as an alternative to LEDs, offering comparable energy savings and low cost replacement parts. The new facility would also harvest rainwater to deliver significant savings similar to one of the company’s other centres in Tullamarine.

Mulder applauded the state-of-the-art facility and said supporting innovation and growth for the freight and logistics sector is a high priority for the Government.

He added working with industry to deliver more sustainable businesses is one of the key themes of the Coalition Government's recently released Victorian freight and logistics plan. 

According to Koehler, Schenker Australia has consolidated two other distribution facilities at Sunshine to make a significantly larger Distribution Centre that allows for growth and is located closer to major roads and port facilities.

At optimum operation it will employ 30 staff, including some locally-sourced casual positions. 

Altona becomes the fifth largest site in the Schenker Australia network. The 18,000m² logistics centre operates eight recessed docks and a 2,000m² awning, allowing transport and logistics operations to co-exist on the one site safely and efficiently. 

Schenker Australia is the local arm of DB Schenker, the world’s second largest transportation and logistics service provider based on sales and performance. The company is in its 51st year of Australian operations.

Asbestos fears over Rio railway line

A council in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has expressed concern over Rio Tinto’s plan to build a railway line near the asbestos-ridden ghost town of Wittenoom.

As part of Rio’s proposed Koodaideri iron ore mine, the company have submitted documents for a 167 km railway line to be built which would connect to the company’s Dampier-Tom Price line.

While the track would avoid the former town, Rio plan to construct part of the track through the wider Wittenoom asbestos management areas, The West Australian reported.

The Shire of Ashburton is concerned workers could be at risk to exposure, calling for indemnity from litigation if the track goes ahead.

According to documents filed by Rio, the $3.5 billion project is expected to produce 35 million tonnes of ore a year, before a ramp up by 2030 which will see that figure increase to 70 million tonnes a year

New roads, power sources, water infrastructure and FIFO village facilities would also be need to be constructed.

The Environment Protection Authority is currently assessing the project before making a recommendation to the Minister for Environment Albert Jacob.

If Rio choose to pursue the project construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2014 before first production in 2016.

Three month delay on Abbot Point expansion decision

The decision to expand Abbot Point Coal terminal has again been delayed as Environment Minister Mark Butler assess the impacts of dredging around the area.

It is the second time a decision on the expansion has been postponed.

A final decision on the project was first expected in July, but Mark Butler said he needed more time to assess the impacts after only just taking over from Tony Burke as Environment Minister.

On Friday, Butler again delayed giving the project the green light after being handed new reports on the possible impacts of the expansion.

Butler said the decision would be postponed for three more months.

"A number of reports have only just been delivered to me, which potentially impact on the Abbot Point assessment," Butler said.

"The various, significant environmental imperatives must be considered, as does the potential for jobs growth, which is vital for a range of coastal and inland communities.

"In order for these matters to be fully considered I have stopped the clock on my department's assessment of the Abbot Point Capital Dredging proposal for a period of three months.

"This does not prevent a decision being made earlier if I believe I have enough information to make an informed decision.''

There is strong support from Bowen locals who want to see the expansion go ahead with more than 600 hundred people attending a rally last month urging the Federal Government to back the project.

Bruce Hedditch from the Bowen Business Chamber said the expansion would create jobs and economic stability to the region.

"We need this to further cement our economic stability by having a good export facility at Abbot Point," he said.

"If it doesn't go ahead, we're going to be like all other communities in Australia, we're going to be struggling."

Queensland Resource Council chief Michael Roche, said he was not surprised with that a decision has been deferred.

"It was always going to be difficult for him to make a calm and reasoned decision in the hothouse political environment of an election campaign," Roche said.

Greenpeace called the delay a "missed opportunity'' claiming that dredging works present clear threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

''The Minister has timidly hand-balled the decision to whichever party is elected on September 7. Based on overwhelming evidence, Minister Butler should have rejected the dredging proposal outright,'' said Greenpeace spokeswoman Louise Matthiesson.

The decision was welcomed by Greens candidate for Dawson Jonathon Dykyj.

"It's a welcome move that hopefully allows all the facts and impacts of the project to be considered," he said.

The $6.2 billion expansion of the coal port would see four additional coal terminals built; which would provide an extra annual capacity of 120 million tonnes and would support the developments in the Bowen, Surat, and Galilee Basins of Queensland.

Combined with other port expansions, this latest development would make Abbot Point one of the world’s largest coal ports, boasting seven terminals and a capacity of almost 300 million tonnes annually.

Image: theaustralian.com.au

Controversial Hunter Valley coal dust report gets review

A statistician will conduct an independent review of data on dust emissions in the Hunter Valley after a report handed down by the Australian Rail Track Corporation was slammed in a peer review.

The state’s chief scientist said a statistician, who will be appointed in the coming weeks, would assess the data which made up the ARTC’s report.

The review comes after claims by Dr Luke Knibbs from the University of Queensland that the ARTC study contained major errors that affected the conclusions, Newcastle Herald reported.

As a result, Environment Protection Authority chairman Barry Buffier requested NSW chief scientist Mary O’Kane appoint a statistical expert to analysis the data used by ARTC.

A spokesman for O’Kane said that a candidate had been identified.

After two months of tests the ARTC report concluded: “loaded coal trains operating on the Hunter Valley rail network, when measured at Metford, did not have a statistically stronger association with elevated particulate matter concentrations than other trains.”

However the report was slammed by local community groups as well as The Greens.

Coal Terminal Action Group James Whelan said fifteen of the report’s eighteen conclusions were changed after receiving an earlier leaked version of the findings.

“In three instances, the opposite conclusions were stated,” he said.

“By deleting or inserting the word ‘no’ or ‘not’, a very different picture of the impacts of coal trains on air quality in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter is reached.

“Other conclusions were modified to significantly downplay the pollution levels associated with coal trains, and the released report saw three new conclusions added and one deleted.”

Yesterday Whelan and his group started conducting their own testing of coal train dust in the Lower Hunter.

After raising $2500 needed for the study from social media crowd-sourcing, the action group will set up dust monitors similar to those used by the ARTC to calculate particulate pollution down to a micrometre in diameter at several sites near the rail corridor as loaded and unloaded coal wagons pass through Newcastle's suburbs.

The ARTC have previously defended their report and said despite the changes both versions of the report made the same finding that loaded coal trains on the Hunter network did not have higher particle emissions than other trains.

"The environmental consultants that prepared this report discovered an error in the calculations while preparing the final report and they adjusted the findings accordingly," it said in a statement.

Greens reject coal dust report

The Greens have slammed a report by the Australian Rail Track Corporation that found coal trains do not have stronger associations with elevated dust.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation said no changes are required to reduce dust emitted from coal trains in the Hunter.

The report said that testing was conducted at Raymond Terrace Drive in Metford using an Osiris particulate matter monitoring device from 30 November 2012 to to 29 January 2013.

The monitoring program concluded that: “loaded coal trains operating on the Hunter Valley rail network, when measured at Metford, did not have a statistically stronger association with elevated particulate matter concentrations than other trains.”

But Greens spokeswoman Jan Davis said the results do not add up.

“These results are a complete contradiction to the studies community groups and the University of Newcastle have been involved in,” she said.

“I think studies done by the groups and the university are much more reliable.”

Davis said the ARTC should have appointed an independent body to undertake the testing, The Maitland Mercury reported.

“I don’t believe the ARTC findings are the true results and I don’t think they should be conducting the study given their involvement with the coal industry,” she said.

While the Coal Terminal Action Group says it will fund its own study of coal dust emissions in the region.

"We're planning a second study ourselves," spokesman James Whelan said.

"Our second study, and we'll be starting to fundraise for it next week, will be to look at the signature of a coal train.

"We're going to be monitoring explicitly along their coal corridor, and watching while the coal trains go by.

"We're going to do the study the EPA should've instructed the ARTC to do."

NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon warned the federal government to disregard the data when considering of the health impacts of coal dust on Hunter communities.

A Senate inquiry into the impacts of coal dust in Newcastle began earlier this year.

“The ARTC report is compromised by methodological shortcomings, has not been independently reviewed and fails to consider the cumulative health impacts of dust from coal stockpiles, mining and road and rail transport,” Rhiannon said.

“Combined action from federal and state governments to set proper standards, monitor air quality, cover coal wagons and reject new coal mining developments is the responsible course of action.”

Air quality in the Hunter has been an issue for residents for some time now as coal mining and haulage activity increased in the region.

“Communities in the Hunter Valley are increasingly worried about coal dust and its health impacts, especially with new coal mines and terminals,’’ Whelan said.

"Anybody who lives in Newcastle knows there is a blanketing of coal dust in many suburbs close to the coal loaders every day of the year, 365 days," Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield spokesperson John Hayes told The Newcastle Herald.

"There's a widespread view that spraying water and dust on the coal dust piles doesn't do much to suppress dust."

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