Locals and visitors to North Stradbroke Island will benefit from a stronger “Straddie” following the introduction into the Queensland Parliament today of the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Amendment Bill 2013.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the legislation provided for sand mining to continue on the island until 2035 to protect jobs and let the local economy transition from a dependence on mining, to one supported by other industries.
“This legislation honours the Newman Government’s election commitment to deliver a framework for an orderly end to sand mining on North Stradbroke Island, and will ensure a sustainable economic future for the local community on the Island.” he said.
“This approach will protect jobs and income while providing sufficient time for the local economy and businesses to transition away from a reliance on sand mining.
“I stress that the extension of mining activities provided for by this Bill will not occur within national parks or environmentally sensitive areas on North Stradbroke Island.
“Sensitive environmental areas and national parks on North Stradbroke Island will not be affected by the legislation and these changes will not require any amendment to the current Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the State of Queensland and the Quandamooka People.”
Mr Cripps said the Bligh Government’s plan to phase out sand mining by 2019 would have seen the major economic activity on North Stradbroke Island shut down in just six years.
“That would have been an economic and social disaster. This timeframe is far too short given there is currently no alternative economic activity of any significance that would be capable of generating a replacement for mining jobs within that time.
“The reality is that the economy of North Stradbroke Island was and still is largely dependent on the mining operations for employment and income.”
Member for Cleveland Mark Robinson said the introduction of the Bill into the Queensland Parliament restored common sense and certainty to the future management of mining on the island.
“It is estimated Sibelco Australia Limited currently injects close to $130 million annually into the Queensland economy and the mining industry employs around 14 per cent of the Island’s total workforce,” Mr Robinson said.
“This critical employment and economic investment in North Stradbroke Island would have been lost had the former Labor administration’s green-driven agenda been allowed to continue.
“It will take time to develop the private sector interest and investment to encourage the development of nature-based recreation, tourism and education on the Island and I’m certain residents will be relieved to have a more sensible, well-planned end to sand mining under the Newman Government.”
The North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Amendment Bill 2013 will:
– enable Sibelco to seek a renewal of mining leases in 2019 at the Enterprise Mine until 2035, thereby providing a realistic timeframe in which North Stradbroke Island can transition to other industries such as nature-based recreation, tourism and education;
– remove the restricted mine path at the Enterprise Mine and consequentially amend the relevant environmental authority. This will reduce the harm done to Queensland’s sovereign risk and leave environmental matters to the appropriate legislation; and
– provide for an opportunity to renew mining leases associated with Yarraman mine and Enterprise mine, until 2020 and 2040 respectively with a non-winning condition. This will provide the necessary mechanism to allow for the rehabilitation of these mine sites.
Press Release, October 17, 2013