Mining supporters counter claims
WHILE local anti-mining group Friends of Felton enlisted new troops at its meeting this week, a number of local people have come out in support of mining in the region.
Pratten resident Brett Reid said if done properly, coal mining could be a blessing.
"If they employ local people first and fill in the mines that aren't used and make it farm land again, I'd like to see it," he said.
"We've got a lot of young people in town - if we get them ready for the work and trained before they start cutting the mines, it would help employment. A lot of people have to drive to Warwick at the moment."
Mr Reid said mining would help the area grow and bring it back to its golden days when there were "half a dozen pubs in town".
Whether or not it's related to mounting mining permits in the Back Plains and Nobby rim, Clifton Real Estate has noted a sharp increase in sales.
Principal Eugene Hollis-Neath said sales had had a "sharp correction" in November last year after the market had been in decline for two years.
"I think most sales are not for (mining) reasons - it's mainly people downsizing or moving to country living," he said.
"We did a marketing campaign in the coastal areas which we feel we got strong feedback from."
Mr Hollis-Neath said some sales had been to people in the coal industry, but only so they could be closer to Toowoomba to fly out from there instead of Brisbane.
Friends of Felton president Ian Whan argued that while there may be benefits for job hunters and realtors, these would be short lived.
"If you want to take the money and run that's terrific, you might get double the value of your asset," he said.
"But in densely settled areas like the Downs, that will be comparatively few people compared to the ones that get hurt.
"One or two people might get a job but this is a temporary thing. The inner Darling Downs is not appropriate for large scale mining."
Coal exploration permits over Pratten, Warwick/Morgan Park and Leslie waiting approval.