QMC president Kelly Vea Vea.
QMC president Kelly Vea Vea.

Approval of FIFO mine ‘disgraceful

THE State Government has made a $50-$70 billion gamble with Queensland's future with the approval of BHP Billiton's 100% fly-in, fly-out Caval Ridge mine.

According to Queensland Mining Communities, the government is "asleep at the wheel of regional development" and has failed regional communities, and it "couldn't be more out of touch with Queensland families".

"This decision makes a mockery of the state's mine approval process and demonstrates that the government puts spin before substance and royalties before people and communities," QMC president Kelly Vea Vea said.

"We think this government has behaved disgracefully. Meeting after meeting, they were nodding their heads in agreement with community concerns.

"And then they turned around and gave BHP everything they wanted, with disastrous implications for our region's future."

Ms Vea Vea said the "furore" followed an unprecedented level of unity from Central Queensland leaders who signed a joint letter to the Premier, calling on the government to reject BHP's application.

"The Bligh Government just doesn't listen," she said.

The Premier this week said the Caval Ridge mine development and expansion to Peak Downs mine would add eight million tonnes of metallurgical coal to Queensland's export market by 2014.

"It will create around 1200 construction jobs and 495 ongoing operational jobs for the next 30 years," Ms Bligh said.

"That's a job and investment guarantee for the next 30 years.

"Queensland's economy is booming and BHP Billiton's announcement (this week) is further confirmation that when it comes to investment, Queensland is where business wants to be."

But Ms Vea Vea said the announcement had set a precedent for future mining developments with "long lasting consequences for families and communities".

"All Central Queensland families wanted was the Bligh Government to stick by its original decision (of) 70% non-resident and 30% residential workforce to ensure the company provided choice for workers to live with their family in the community and to maintain a population, economic and social balance," she said.

"(The government's) arrogance is breathtaking."

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