QLD mayor fights for mining ban

 A Queensland mayor is calling for a moratorium into the mining industry in the Brisbane valley only weeks after the Scenic Rim called on the government to cancel mining permits in the region.

Graeme Lehmann, Somerset’s mayor, has put forth a moratorium to push for the council to become the first in the state to ban coal mining and coal seam gas, the Queensland Times reports.

Lehmann said he move was driven by community fears of the affects the mining boom may have on the region.

"There has been a great deal of concern in the local and broader community about the potential impacts of the proposed coal exploration and potential for coal seam gas mining in the Somerset region," he said.

Despite any moves by the council to ban mining, it would have no real effect of the industry in the region as final decisions on developments and permits lay with the state government.

However Lehmann stated that a moratorium would not just be symbolic.

"We’re showing people that’s the way we do think. There are a lot of people out there calling for the council to be doing more and this is a way we can do that," he told the Queensland Times, adding that the region’s future lay in tourism and agriculture.

"I do not consider it is worth jeopardising our natural environment and water catchments by allowing this type of development."

The Queensland Resources Council recently endorsed a proposal for $750 million in funding for communities affected by the forecast mining boom.

QRC chief executive Michael Roche stated that it reflects the industry body’s own position in its pre-epection policy document.

"The expected growth of the resources sector over the next 10 years is just phenomenal with $142 billion worth of projects currently on the books, and this is going to require about 40,000 additional people in direct resource industry roles, and many more in support industries," he said.

"Resource communities are already feeling the strain as infrastructure struggles to keep up with demand, so it’s obvious that these communities are going to need some help to adapt to the further expansion ahead for them.

"The QRC is therefore also seeking commitments from the major parties for additional funding for community infrastructure in host resource communities."

According to a recent QRC Deloitte Access Economics Growth Outlook Study, if all of the $142 billion worth of resources projects go ahead, then Queensland’s mining royalties may exceed $7 billion annually by 2020.

"The QRC joins with the LGAQ in calling for a closer alignment between the responsibility for accommodating resource growth and the revenues that accrue from this growth," Roche said.

"However, while the resource sector is willing to play its part, whoever forms the next Queensland Government should be looking to meet the additional demand for the infrastructure and services that are normally within the realm of governments."


Image:  Across Continents


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