Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche yesterday said the State Government’s plans for a long-term land-use planning framework would provide “absolute certainty.”
The Government earlier this month released a discussion paper dealing with the management and conservation of the State’s key food producing land.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said the framework would ensure any developments that “permanently alienate the land,” will not occur unless they are in the public interest.
“Mining development proponents will need to demonstrate that they can comply with the policy by fully restoring the land back to its previous crop production capacity,” he said.
According to Roche, the State’s resources industry supported strategic planning decisions and the development of environmental licence conditions, provided they use transparent and scientifically-based criteria.
“Mining and petroleum companies are acutely aware of their environmental and social responsibilities,” he said.
“They also believe that the State Government is best equipped to make rational land use decisions in the interests of the owners of those resources, the citizens of Queensland.
“Utilising the best available science and existing regulatory mechanisms, such as the environmental impact statement processes, is a logical move.
“The QRC is pleased that the state government has taken a first step towards defining highly productive cropping land and we look forward to playing our part in ensuring that positive economic, environmental and social outcomes are achieved.”
While only 2.2% of Queensland is currently being used for crop growth, Roche said that less than 0.1% is being used for mining.
“So where an overlap does occur, it is important that we work together to get the land use balance right,” he said.
Roche said the QRC would work with landholders and the Government to locate Queenland’s best cropping land, including mapping soil quality, recording historical productivity, examining rainfall and evaporation and the proximity to skills and infrastructure.