Uranium mining is dividing voters in the lead up to the Queensland election, with 42% in favour and 39% opposed to yellowcake mining, according to a recent Galaxy Poll survey.
The Liberal National Party (LNP) is likely to overturn Labor’s (ALP) ban and give uranium mining the go-ahead if it wins the 21 March 2009 election.
Liberal leader, Lawrence Springborg, says the absence of uranium mining is limiting job opportunities and the State’s economy in a time of financial downturn.
“If it jumps through the environmental hoops… then as far as I’m concerned there’s no objection to us doing what the other Australian states do,” he said.
Queensland contains an estimated $20 billion in uranium reserves. However, current policies only permit uranium exploration and not mining of the resource.
Premier Anna Bligh, however, stands by her objection, and says yellowcake mining would require huge upfront capital for infrastructure that would only create about 150 jobs.
With 3,000 Queensland jobs axed in 2009 already, Bligh believes the focus should be more on the workforce and is promising 100,000 jobs to boost the State’s infrastructure and economy.
“I will fight… for jobs and a return to prosperity,” she said.
The Labor government is also proposing an infrastructure plan to target key mining towns and improve access, resources and facilities in rural areas.
The $100 m jobs and infrastructure plan will deliver $22 m to northwest mining regions to sustain the State’s mining industry and improve access and services for the sector.
The Bligh government has also committed a four year education package which will create nearly 150,000 training positions, many within the mining sector.
Turning its focus to the environment, the LNP has pledged to formally identify iconic farming lands to protect them from mining and property development.