THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said Queenslanders would have every right to question the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to the regions without a decision to keep 150 workers at New Hope’s Acland mine near Oakey in their jobs.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said while the Parliament would begin its regional sittings in Townsville today, a long shadow was cast over the fellow mining communities of Oakey and Toowoomba by the drawn-out saga over approvals for the New Hope Stage Three expansion.
“Today Parliament begins sitting in the state’s north. We welcome that commitment to one of our most important resources regions.
“But Queenslanders have every right to ask just how seriously the Palaszczuk Government takes that regional commitment as workers near Oakey are now confronting real-life redundancies because of a drawn-out approvals process that has pushed the limits of credibility,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“The future of 150 workers at the Acland mine is up in the air because of outstanding approvals for the next phase of the mine and an associated water licence. The approvals process has been running for 12 years.
“At the recent Labor Party conference, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said ‘coal, gas and renewable industries…all these jobs are good decent jobs.’
“The Premier can’t expect miners in Central and North Queensland to accept her word that this Government supports coal mining when their colleagues at Acland are left out of a job because the Government won’t make a decision on New Hope Stage Three,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We hope to see the pro-mining rhetoric turn into a reality by ending the uncertainty for workers at the New Hope Acland mine. The mine can be expanded while still complying with environmental sustainability requirements.
“Relocating the Parliament to the regions is an important symbolic gesture. Backing our resources jobs from the state’s north all the way to the south is an even more important concrete action the Government can take to prove it backs regional Queensland.
“It’s time to end the decade long uncertainty for workers at the New Hope mine and support our resources sector to keep delivering for our state.”