Government faces acid test on Straddie mining transition

The Palaszczuk Government must back its North Stradbroke Island mining decision with funding in its coming Budget to start the transition, says Redland City Mayor Karen Williams.

Cr Williams said while the decision of Parliament to re-commit to ending mining by 2019 ended uncertainty about the cessation date, it also presented enormous challenges.

“This is the Government’s action, their legislation and their silver bullet and they now must take full responsibility and get serious about properly funding the transition,” she said.

“We have already lost three years with the back and forth in State Parliament and we cannot wait until 2019 to put the building blocks for the new economy in place – we need to do that right now. To wait until 2019 would be to invite an economic disaster.

“North Stradbroke Island is an isolated community and the impact of the end of sand mining in 2019 is already being felt.

“The loss of mining jobs on Straddie and the hit on the local economy deserves the same level of commitment that we have seen from the Government in responding to the demise of Queensland Nickel in Townsville.”

Cr Williams said while she welcomed the Government’s promised $20 million for the transition, much more would be needed.

“This is a mere fraction of what is needed to ensure the transition does not spiral into an economic disaster,” she said.

“Redland City expects this political decision to be reflected in the next State Budget to prove the Government is serious about softening the impact and planning for the future.”

Cr Williams said the Government must commit to funding infrastructure if tourism was to become the alternative industry to sustain the island in future years.

“Tourism is touted by the Government as the silver bullet and there is no doubt it will play a vital role in providing jobs and economic opportunity on the island,” she said.

“We need to see something in the budget that adds connectivity of the island and to the island.

“The end of mining decision reinforces the importance of the Toondah Harbour development and the need for a comprehensive transport and infrastructure plan for Dunwich to the island through our city.

“The $1.4 billion Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area project will be a catalyst for Straddie to stake its position as a leading tourism destination.

“Council will stand side by side with the Government, the Traditional Owners and the island community to ensure transition is a success, but the Government now must back its words with dollars.”