Originally published online by The Courier Mail on 25 May 2016.
QUEENSLAND MPs have been told a vote expected today to shut down sand mining on Stradbroke Island could cause massive harm to the local economy.
Parliament is expected to vote today on a Palaszczuk Government Bill to end mining on the island by 2019, about 16 years earlier than existing legislation introduced by the LNP and four years earlier than a plan put forward by the Katter Party.
A Deloittes investigation said the impact of the early shutdown could be as high as $1 billion.
Mining industry employer group AMMA was urging MPs to reject the Government’s plan which may depend on support from independent Billy Gordon.
AMMA executive director Scott Barklamb said the transition away from sand mining will impact on the livelihood of hundreds of the island’s best paid employees, both sand miners and those that indirectly rely on the industry.
“The government’s plan to end sand mining in 2019 is highly premature and its failure to undertake a proper regulatory impact statement does not instil a great deal of confidence,” he said.
“Any timetable for ending sand mining on North Stradbroke must be supported by a thorough regulatory impact statement and a realistic economic transition plan that supports the island’s residents and community.
“A 2019 closure to sand mining risks massively and unnecessarily harming the island’s economic and community well-being,” Mr Barklamb continues.
“This includes significant job losses for the local indigenous community, which will also lose considerable revenue under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement when sand mining exports from the island come to an end.
“The sand mining employees that can transition to become waiters, baristas or take up other hospitality jobs are going to face a wait before tourism develops to replace mining, and their pay will fall considerably, if they are lucky enough to find a job.
“This is a $1 billion decision that the community of North Stradbroke Island cannot afford for their parliamentary representatives to get wrong.
“AMMA urges state MPs from all sides to today vote down these bills and instead commit to gradually wind-down sand mining over a more sensible timeframe.”