What about our little guys?
CENTRAL Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire has been left asking how the State Government could introduce a mining ban that still comes within 2km of at least three towns in the region.
Emerald, Blackwater and Tieri have been confirmed as making the list of protected urban centres under the new Restricted Area policy, enforced yesterday.
But Cr Maguire said the announcement had glaring inconsistencies if Premier Anna Bligh’s statement the policy would “provide another layer of assurance for communities” was true.
“All they said was townships with over 100 people would be protected,” Cr Maguire said.
“My question is, if they’re going to make this work to protect the urban communities, why shouldn’t they be looking at (towns with) 50 or 100 people?
“What’s wrong with the people in small towns having the same sort of protection from potential mines being right up to their doors?”
Premier Bligh on Monday said the restrictions were “complementary” to the existing strategic cropping legislation.
“But what these changes do is provide certainty upfront and end the anxiety so that residents don’t have to wait for the assessment process to run its course,” Ms Bligh said.
“This is about striking the right balance between the needs of the resources sector, the environment and the people who live and work in and around the mining regions.”
But Cr Maguire was reluctant to endorse the policy for the Central Highlands and listed a number of smaller towns which failed to qualify for protection.
“Duaringa, Dingo, Bluff, Springsure, Rolleston, Capella – all our small towns, don’t the people matter?” he said. “If a 2km buffer can be applied to larger towns like Emerald and Blackwater, why can’t it apply to them?”