QRC launches election agenda

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has released its 2012 state election policy agenda.

According to QRC chief Michael Roche, it sets out a comprehensive agenda for the $40 billion industry.

"A key emphasis for the next government is to clearly and publicly articulate a long-term vision for minerals and energy sector growth in Queensland as one of the key pillars of a successful economic growth strategy," Roche said.

"From the industry’s perspective, the headline components include restoration of a stand-alone minerals and energy department under the direction of a senior cabinet minister and a whole-of-government approach to reinvigorating Queensland’s reputation for minimal sovereign risk, supported by a world-class regulatory framework for minerals and energy sector development."

The QRC also reiterated its stance with the Local Government Association of Queensland in calling for $750 million in funding over five years for community infrastructure programs.

Roche stated that it reflects the industry body’s own position.

"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.

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.

He went on to say that "the QRC is looking to the next state government to develop a progressive mix of policies combined with a reinvigorated government structure and public sector capability to help secure Queensland’s long-term prosperity.

"This includes a commitment from both sides of politics to the merit-based assessment of all resource projects, guided by the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD), as enshrined in the state’s environmental impact statement (EIS) process.

"We are looking to that EIS process to be overseen by a revitalised Office of the Co-ordinator General (for significant projects) and a strong, accountable environmental regulator, which has a real-world understanding of the industries that it regulates."

The QRC has previously slammed the government over its decision to declare Georgina and Diamantina Wild Rivers areas less than a fortnight after closing public submissions.

At the time, the QRC stated that the Bligh Government had no intention of paying any attention to industry and community views.

Roche said the industry would be dismayed that the government had opted for politically-driven haste over due process.


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