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Committee urged to consider benefits of mining in farming communities

The Queensland Resources Council has urged a Parliamentary Committee to recommend to the state government that it refocus a Qld Regional Interests Planning Bill on delivering growth for both agriculture and  mining.

Appearing before the committee today, QRC Industry Policy Director Andrew Barger said the proposed Bill appeared to focus on the cost to agriculture of resource developments and not on potential benefits.

‘How much more cotton could a region grow with a more reliable water supply? Resource projects have historically paid to build infrastructure like dams and water pipelines, with obvious spin-off benefits for agriculture,’ Mr Barger told the committee.

‘A perennial bugbear for agriculture is access to markets. Farmers long for better roads, rail links and connections to ports and airports. These are examples of investments made by resources projects that benefit a region’s economy.’

Mr Barger said QRC public opinion research showed consistently that Queenslanders expect agriculture and resources to co-exist as the primary drivers of regional economic activity.

‘Our research also shows that despite understandable public support for farmers, it is conceded that agriculture alone is not sufficient to drive regional growth.

‘In other words, regional communities see co-existence as an important force for balancing the activity cycles that affect both industries.

‘Queensland’s statutory regional plans could deliver on this promise, by refocusing on how to deliver growth in both agriculture and resources,’ he said.

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