MEMBER for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten has hit back at claims the Queensland Government has deserted CQ's mining communities.
Mr Schwarten yesterday said it was not true to say the government had no conscience because of the conditions imposed on BMA's $4 billion Caval Ridge Mine project, near Moranbah.
Earlier this week Labor Government MPs came under fire from Queensland Mining Communities president Kelly Vea Vea who claimed they had failed to stand up for traditional Labor-voting communities in delivering mining giant BHP "a no-questions-asked, 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce" at Caval Ridge.
Ms Vea Vea said Labor MPs needed "backbone checks".
Mr Schwarten said in the past mining companies had built homes for its workers or the government built these and leased them to the companies.
But things were different these days.
He said the government was now forcing the mining company to build 400 homes within the community.
"Both sides are unhappy; that probably means we have got the balance about right," Mr Schwarten said.
"This represents the strongest position a government has taken.
"I understand what Ms Vea Vea is saying and I want people who work in the industry to live here in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast.
"But we are not in the business of telling people where they have to live."
He recognised his longstanding Labor friend Jim Pearce held different views.
THE State Government says a range of project approvals for BMA's Caval Ridge Mine project will ensure the local Moranbah community gets additional homes built and workers will have a choice.
The Co-ordinator General has conditioned the Caval Ridge Mine project with a requirement for BMA to build a total of 400 homes, with strict timeframes requiring the first 160 to be built in Moranbah by June 2013 and the remaining 240 dwelling across the Bowen Basin over the following four years.
A range of other supports for the community, including up to $5.5 million towards a regional youth and community services centre in Moranbah and $2.5 million towards redeveloping the Greg Cruikshank Aquatic Centre, have also been formally added as conditions for the mine's project approval.
Previously BMA had gained approval for up to 70% of the workforce to fly in to work on the project; under the new approval the Co-ordinator General is requiring BMA to instead have 80% of the workforce across all their operations reside in the region.
Mr Davies said BMA would also have to report twice a year on the status of the workforce.
The government has approved the construction of BMA's Buffel Park Accommodation Village.
Between the Caval Ridge Mine and the Buffel Park Village 2000 construction jobs and 500 operational jobs will be generated.
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