MP Pearce to remain Natural Resources Committee chairman

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has reiterated her support for Mirani MP Jim Pearce in his role as chairman of the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee.

Pearce outraged mining industry figures on Tuesday with a speech before the parliament which generally accused mining companies of mistreating workers to the detriment of safety reporting, failing to keep up with rehabilitation responsibilities, and of forgetting their place in terms of appreciating the need for social licence within mining communities.

Questioned about her support for the member for Mirani by the opposition in parliament yesterday, Palasczcuk said she had faith in his position as chair of the committee.

“He makes no excuses for being passionate about those mining communities and making sure that those young children growing up in those mining communities… can get jobs,” the premier said.

State development minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Pearce’s comment “I am unable with confidence to point to any mining company that deserves the right to mine”, was not the position of the government, however he said that he too was concerned about rehabilitation, FIFO mines, and poor community engagement.

“What has happened previously is that the mining communities were supported by the mining companies,” Lynham said.

“Unfortunately, with the Royalties for the Regions we find that the companies have now abrogated their responsibilities.”

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said he welcomed Lynham’s appointment of a panel of community and sector representatives to the committee, but implied dissatisfaction with Peace’s position as chair.

“QRC members were prepared to give the Member for Mirani, Jim Pearce, the benefit of the doubt up until his extraordinary attack on the coal mining industry in parliament this week,” he said.

“The QRC commits to providing the panel with every support it requires by way of data and case studies to help inform its report to the minister, and through the minister to cabinet.

“This objective, fact-based approach stands in contrast to the expected pre-judged conclusions from the chair of the Parliamentary inquiry into FIFO and other long-distance commuting arrangements.”

Roche acknowledged the positions of both ALP and LNP against 100 per cent FIFO policies for mining operations with a nearby township, but also expressed his view that the inquiry should not “be a stalking horse for reversing prior-approved workforce arrangements at Queensland mines.

“Retrospective changes to conditioning of resource projects represents a huge sovereign risk issue for the state,” he said.

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