QLD opposition against North Stradbroke sand mining ban

The Queensland opposition has slammed the decision by the Bligh government to declare a fifth of North Stradbroke Island national parkland, banning sandmining.

Campbell Newman, the Liberal National’s leader in waiting said yesterday the plan was bad for the economy, but has not provided any information on what the party would do instead if voted in at the next election.

Mining company Sibelco is one of the many miners and local businesses against the plan, and plans to take its fight to the media, with television and newspaper ads in local media.

However, Premier Anna Bligh maintains the change is the right one.

"I, like so many other Queenslanders, want to see North Straddie transformed from a mining island to an island paradise," she said, noting the strategy would promote eco-tourism on the island, 30km southeast of Brisbane.

The plan announced on Thursday would see all mining banned on the island from 2025, and to spark an increase of tourism, 80 per cent – 22 000 hectares – of the island will become national park.

Yesterday’s announcement saw 20 per cent of the island – 5240 hectares – declared national park, to be part-managed by Aboriginal traditional owners and by the end of the year, half the island will be part of the park.

The Yarraman sand mine, which accounts for 47 per cent of mining on the island, will close in 2015 and the largest on the island, Enterprise will shut in 2019.

By 2026, 80 per cent of the island will be protected, with sandmining closing down gradually until then.
Newman said the plan for North Stradbroke could be a sovereign risk and raised concerns that mining companies may be unwilling to invest in Queensland.

The Green issue will be a primary concern for the next Queensland election, and Newman said the LNP would seek to find a way, with “very clear policies” to protect the environment and accommodate mining and other local industries at the same time.

He would not confirm whether or not his party would reverse or review the decision if elected.

"We won’t, in an effort to buy Green preferences and Green support, in what (Labor) see obviously as a difficult election for them, just make decisions that then cost jobs," Mr Newman said.

Traditionally in Queensland, Greens preference Labor, where there is optional preferential voting and a close contest, they would make decisions on the outcome of some seats.

Image: The Courier Mail

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