Promise of stronger resources communities

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed today’s state government announcement of a new three-year $100 million funding package to strengthen resource industry-based communities.

The package is the centrepiece of a partnership agreement between industry and governments signed in the central Queensland coal mining town of Blackwater.

Premier Anna Bligh, Queensland Resources Council President John Pegler and Local Government Association of Queensland President Cr Paul Bell marked the opening of the new Blackwater International Coal Centre with the signing of a Sustainable Resource Communities Partnership Agreement.

“This is a landmark agreement for the communities that contribute so much to Queensland’s prosperity,” Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said.

“Today’s announcement of targeted government funding for infrastructure including education and health facilities is a welcome boost for community development and other assistance programs that have been sponsored by mining companies for many decades.

“QRC and its members have lobbied strongly to ensure that the needs of communities in regions such as the Bowen and Surat Basins and North West Queensland are recognised and rewarded through tangible returns such as improved community services.

“We also acknowledge the efforts of the Member for Fitzroy, Jim Pearce, in bringing these issues to the attention of his government.’

According to Roche, improvements in resource community infrastructure are critical to the attraction and retention of employees, especially with economic forecasters pointing to a potential doubling in size of the coal industry by 2020.

“Over that same period, Queensland mining companies must find another 23,000 employees simply to maintain global market share,” he said.

“We congratulate the Queensland Government and the Local Government Association of Queensland for their commitment to a better deal for resource communities.

“It’s a value investment in the future of the state and the nation.”

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