A newly released report has called for sand mining on North Stradbroke in Queensland to be regulated by federal environmental laws instead of state.
But Queensland Premiere Campbell Newman is unperturbed and said he will forge ahead with extending sand mining on the island to 2035, the ABC reported.
Quandamooka traditional owners, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) representatives and the North Stradbroke community assembled on the island to reveal a banner aimed at political parties and said “Stand up for Straddie”.
According to ACF CEO Don Henry, the mine is impacting the water flow 18 Mile Swamp wetlands.
“It’s internationally recognised as very important for birdlife and other endangered species,” he said.
But Sibelco, which runs the mine, denied this and said the mine follows environmental best practice standards.
Sibelco cut jobs at its struggling Vance mine earlier this year as it attempted to curtail production at the mine.
Henry said a report commissioned by the Friends of Stradbroke Island said the Enterprise sand mine venture has National Environmental Significance.
Due to this, the mine should be governed by federal environmental laws rather than state laws, he said.
While the previous Bligh Labor government had declared sand mining on the island would be abolished by 2019, Newman said his government would not be doing that.
“During the state election campaign people voted very, very strongly on Stradbroke Island for mining to continue,” he said.
“If Federal Labor or the Greens want to interfere and shut it down and stop jobs in Queensland well, let it be on their heads.
“We are delivering what we said we’d do – we’re supporting jobs on the island.”
Bligh announced a plan in Parliament in 2011, stating 'mining may have been part of North Stradbroke's past but won't define its future'.
The Queensland state government extended sand mining leases in North Stradbroke Island last month.
Sibelco asked Mines Minister Andrew Cripps to change its mine path and make lease tenures more straightforward.
North Stradbroke resident Jan Aldenhoven supported the native title, saying it brings fresh prospects to the island and acknowledges the Quandamooka people’s rights.
“The island’s special environment is far more valuable for its long term potential than being sacrificed now for the short-term profits of a foreign-owned mining company,” she said.
She also said mining only comprises a tiny portion of the island’s employment and that too is declining.
“The silica mine is closing – it’s uneconomical,” she said.
“Yarraman mine is running out of minerals and will finish in 2015.”