CRUNCH TIME: Jim Prentice, Clean Air Ipswich, wants action on coal dust.
CRUNCH TIME: Jim Prentice, Clean Air Ipswich, wants action on coal dust. Rob Williams

"We've real concerns": Anger at coal dust at Ipswich station

A GROUP of citizens concerned about the health impacts of coal dust at Ipswich train station plan to mount a public campaign against the major parties, in the lead up to the next state election.

Ipswich Station is the only place in the country where uncovered coal trains pass through an enclosed passenger terminal.

The Labor State Government says the levels of dust are safe and well below air quality guidelines.

But Clean Air Ipswich, led by Jim Prentice, is petitioning for increased monitoring inside the terminal to prove Ipswich passengers aren't being regularly exposed to dangerous particle pollution.

Mr Prentice met with representatives from the Queensland Environment Minister's office on Monday and afterwards said if the issue didn't gain any traction, his group would start making noise.

"We have real concerns about uncovered coal wagons being hauled by dirty diesels through Ipswich station, where commuters, especially children, congregate," Mr Prentice said.

"We're very confident that monitoring of Ipswich station and along the track will show the need for covered coal wagons and cleaner diesels."

Each week up to 120 trains carrying coal, freight and other agricultural products from out west pass through Ipswich Station on the way to Brisbane Port where almost 600,000 tonnes of coal was exported during March alone.

The closest monitoring station to the Ipswich terminal is at Flinders View.

That's some seven kilometres away.

The State Government has previously stood by the existing monitoring, saying in November dust levels are well below air quality objectives.

"The monitoring has shown that while coal dust and the influence of coal trains on dust levels has been detected, the levels of total dust (including coal dust) are well below air quality objectives for the protection of human health and amenity impacts," an Environment Department spokesperson said, last year.

Australian Greens Queensland Senator and deputy party leader Larissa Waters says her party will stand up for the health of Ipswich residents.

"More Australians die from particle pollution, like coal dust, than from car crashes each year," Senator Waters said.

"In the past 10 years the mining industry has donated $3.5 million to the Queensland Labor party.

"The Greens don't take donations from the mining industry, that is why we will stand up for the health of Ipswich residents."