The Queensland Government’s lifting of the uranium ban in October came as a welcome surprise to a resources sector lagging in the doldrums.
Premier Campbell Newman said sustained public debate and strong support for the uranium industry from the Federal Government led to the decision.
“The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just been in India selling the benefits of Australian-produced uranium to India, prompting many in the community to ask about the industry’s potential in Queensland,” Mr Newman said at the time.
“It’s been 30 years since there was uranium mining in this State, and in that time Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia have carved out successful uranium industries that deliver jobs and prosperity to their regions.”
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said with Queensland’s known uranium deposits worth an estimated $10 billion, the industry has enormous potential to support economic growth, particularly in regional North Queensland.
Just over a week after the announcement, the newly appointed members of the Uranium Implementation Committee were revealed, charged with establishing a best-practice framework for the recommencement of uranium mining in Queensland.
Central Highlands Councillor, and former President of the Local Government Association of Queensland, Paul Bell was announced as Chair of the committee. An in-depth interview with Paul Bell can be found on page xxx.
The other members of the Uranium
Implementation Committee are Noeline Ikin (CEO Northern Gulf Resource Management Group), Frances Hayter (Environment Director, Queensland Resources Council), Dr Geoff Garrett (Queensland Government Chief Scientist), Dan Hunt (Acting Director- General, Department of Natural Resources and Mines) and Indigenous leader, Warren Mundine (Director of the Australian Uranium Association and a former ALP National President).