QRC slams government’s Wild Rivers decision

 The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) says the decision to declare the Georgina and Diamantina Wild Rivers areas less than a fortnight after closing public submissions has shown the consultation process to be a sham.

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

Michael Roche, head of the mining representative body, said the industry would be dismayed that the government had opted for politically-driven haste over due process.
"How can it be that a decision on the Cooper Creek took seven months following the close of submissions, but the huge Georgina and Diamantina areas could be decided in less than two weeks," Roche stated.
"This Lake Eyre Basin region is equal to one-third of Queensland’s land mass, is thought to be highly prospective for minerals and petroleum resources, but remains still lightly explored.
"The risk for the people for Queensland is that these declarations will lock away for all time hugely valuable resources and so deny the state investment, jobs and royalties."

In March, Roche called on the government to re-evaluate its environmental policies after a disastrous year in mining.


"2010 was a horrible year for policies affecting the attractiveness and ease of exploration in Queensland," Roche said.

"We had sweeping changes that complicated land access for explorers, the continuing roll-out of the Wild Rivers policy was extended by legislation to the Lake Eyre Basin, there was the threat to billions of dollars of resource projects from mooted strategic cropping land legislation, and just this week the unprecedented legislation cancelling Sibelco’s mining leases on North Stradbroke Island. 

"Such interventions to curry favour with narrow sectional interests are unnecessary and dangerous."

He went on to say that mining in the state supports environmental protection and that this can be achieved under existing environmental protection acts and environmental impact assessment processes.

Roche said the state is well equipped to make decisions on the mining industry and changes may be counter-productive.

"What we have seen instead is huge disrespect for the views of the Queensland Resources Council and its member companies, which have a raft of projects in the affected areas.

‘There is no way that the minister and her department could have given proper consideration to industry submissions in just two weeks.

"We can only conclude that this travesty of process is all about deals to help the re-election prospects of the Bligh government."


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