Three MPs have thrown their support behind sand mining on North Stradbroke Island in Queensland, saying it boosts employment.
Family First’s Andrew O’Shea, the LNP’s Andrew Laming and Palmer United’s John Wayne argued for sand mining at the Bayside Bulletin election forum last week.
O’Shea said while he is aware of the environmental concerns surrounding mining activity, he argued the land used for mining on the island was remediated to world-class levels.
He added that while the local shops and tourism brought in some income, most island citizens had jobs on the mainland, The Bayside Bulletin reported.
“Should the owners of the land agree that they can keep mining but they must keep regenerating the land and everyone was happy, I would say ‘yes’ please for employment on the island,” he said.
Laming backed O’Shea and said mining could exist together on the island with tourism and the indigenous people.
“I support mining continuing as long as it’s economically viable and I support talking to indigenous elders on how that can occur,” Laming said.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said recently he will go ahead with extending sand mining on North Stradbroke Island to 2035 despite a report calling for sand mining to be regulated by federal environmental laws instead of state.
But Labor’s Darryl Briskey and The Greens’ Penny Allman-Payne said mining should only be expanded if the Quandamooka people approve.
They want Sibelco’s Enterprise mine to go through an assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
“This was never done even though the mine operates in very close proximity to an internationally recognised Ramsar-listed wetlands,” Briskey said.
“What really concerns us is, under the Act, there is a loophole which allows the federal government to grant approval to the state government for mines.
“I can’t think of anything worse than the federal government giving this Queensland government approval over any mine on North Stradbroke Island.”
Former Premier Anna Bligh announced a timetable in 2011 to completely abolish sand mining on the island. She had said Enterprise mine on the island’s south will shut by 2019.