IN 2008, Premier Anna Bligh made an election promise to the mayors of resource communities they would get an annual meeting with Minister for Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin.
On Monday, that election promise was followed through when Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Peter Maguire joined with 18 other resource-based local government mayors in a meeting with Mr Mulherin.
It was the first meeting held in just over 12 months with last year’s meeting cancelled due to the record floods which hit during the summer.
Cr Maguire said it was a chance to discuss the 29 recommendations outlined in the submission called A Message from the Mayors of the Queensland Resource Communities.
“We got the chance to get an update on the Sustainable Resource Community policy,” he said, and confirmed future planning was on track in the region to cope with the predicted population boom.
“Also, social impact management plans, strategic cropping land, roads, infrastructure, environmental impact study processes and exploration issues were discussed.”
Cr Maguire said the issues were ongoing but the annual meetings with the State Government ensured progress was made.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Cedric Marshall said the meetings were about ensuring communities in the local government areas directly impacted by the resource industries – regardless of whether it was gas, coal or mineral exploration – were preserved and maintained.
“We requested some changes to the policy and legislation which deals with the maintenance agreements established between the exploration and resource companies and local governments,” Cr Marshall said.
“Hopefully we will see that progressed in the future in terms of roads and public infrastructure.”
One of the key issues listed in the recommendations was strategic cropping land.
Yesterday, it was revealed the State Government had delivered on its promise to map the land to be protected from mining developments.
“We discussed issues that effect each and every local government area impacted by the resource industry,” Cr Marshall said. “These are big issues, and something that impacts every council where resource exploration is happening.”
Mr Mulherin was unavailable for comment yesterday.
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