THE dust is refusing to settle around the controversial Rosewood Camp - and won't for at least another 12 months after the State Government conceded it had extended the lease.
A spokeswoman from Premier Campbell Newman's office confirmed the lease extension but maintained the final decision was recently made by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
"The (DNRM) has extended the lease for 12 months as there is no other alternative accommodation available," the spokeswoman said.
"Closure of the camp would have a major impact on the operations of coal mines in the Blackwater area."
The renewal appears to signify a backflip by the new government on the issue of camps at Blackwater, with the Blackwater Herald (sister paper to the CQNews) reporting in July last year that Mr Newman had been appalled at the proliferation of camps in the town.
But the spokeswoman hit back at claims the Premier's opinion on camps had changed.
"The Premier said he didn't want to see any additional camps in the town," she said.
"This is simply an extension of an existing lease.
"The LNP has only been in government for seven weeks and the extension allows the council and the ULDA to work together to find a suitable, longer-term solution."
Less than 12 months ago, Mr Newman took a firm stance against camps being constructed within town limits and went as far as renaming Blackwater "Donga-water".
"I'm just shocked ... amazed at Blackwater, it's just not what we should be building," Mr Newman said at the time.
"We should be building sustainable, real communities and that involves having a mix of housing choices, encouraging families to be there and not overloading it with single people's accommodation."
Despite criticism from the Central Highlands council - which is now powerless to stop camp developments being approved by the State Government - the Rosewood Camp will remain for at least another 12 months.
Mayor Peter Maguire has described the camp in less than flattering terms and said it still failed to comply with legislation regarding standards applying to such accommodation.
"It's not aesthetically pleasing, let's say it that way," Cr Maguire said.
"It doesn't comply with any current legislation at all."
Cr Maguire has previously denounced the state of the Rosewood Camp.
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