The Queensland parliament has passed a bill to end sand mining on North Stradbroke Island in 2019, delivering another blow to the state’s resources sector.
It has also supported the bill to end Sibelco’s sand mining operations, affecting not only the 153 full time workers, but contractors and businesses that rely on the mine as well.
The issue of sand mining on the island has faced much debate in recent years.
In 2011, the then Bligh Government declared 80 per cent of the island a national park, seeking to ban sand mining from 2025, with the date altered to 2024 in 2015.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche said prematurely closing the mine coupled with an inadequate economic transition strategy will result in a social and economic disaster for the community on the island.
“At a time when the mining sector is under extreme pressure and losing jobs, Queensland cannot afford the luxury of pandering to minority pressure group demands to shut down a mining operation that has proved to be one of the most responsible, productive, and durable in the state,” he said.
He added that the transition from a major industry to one that is self sustaining will take several years, and will require more than the proposed $20 million transition package from the state government.
QRC also noted that before mid-2017 only $2.5 million was given to this package.
The bill follows the parliament’s earlier backing of the Chain of Responsibility law, enabling people or entities (even from countries overseas) to object to mining projects in QLD.
Earlier this year the Queensland government also banned underground coal gasification in the state.