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Breathing space for Straddie economic transition

A Bill introduced into the Queensland parliament on Tuesday proposing the end of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island in 2024 has injected some realism back into the public debate about the island’s economic transition.

The Katter Australia Party proposal offers a crucial additional five years for that economic transition compared to closing operations in 2019 as promised by Labor during the election campaign.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said the proposed extension of operations was welcome news, although still short of Sibelco’s proposal for an end to mining in 2027.

“I applaud the Katter Party’s initiative which deserves the support from all sides in the Parliament,” Mr Roche said.

“Lessons from elsewhere in Australia show that economic diversification and transition in a community is a long-term process, taking many years to be self-sustaining.

“The Palaszczuk government had budgeted to spend a mere $20 million on the Island’s economic transition, with a grand total of just $2.5 million to be spent in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

‘That wasn’t a plan for a successful economic transition, rather it was a plan for lost jobs and business failures.

“As recent news of resource sector job losses have surely demonstrated, Queensland cannot afford the luxury of pandering to a Greens demand to shut down a mining operation supporting hundreds of jobs on North Stradbroke Island and adjacent communities.”

Photo: Sibelco

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