ULDA contempt not on: MP

BLACKWATER residents have every right to feel their opinions are being treated with contempt by the ULDA, according to the Member for Gregory, Vaughan Johnson.

“Blackwater was very open to the concept of the ULDA because they felt that it would be able to address the challenges facing the town in a manner which was co-ordinated across the different areas of need,” said Mr Johnson.

“Their patience is starting to wear very thin. First we had an inadequate consultation time which I only managed to have extended by making personal representation to the Premier. Now we have seen a concept plan which totally ignores the 700 submissions Blackwater people have made to ULDA about ceasing the development of any further single-person’s quarters in the town’s footprint.”

Mr Johnson said the current ULDA vision for Blackwater allowed for the development of up to 2000 more single person’s quarters on the eastern side of the town, lifting the total number of single persons’ quarters to more than 4000 rooms.

“The worst part is these could then be used as a planning precedent for more,” he said. “The science is in and we know that this will create serious, long-term social problems. This is Australia in the 21st century, for heaven’s sake.”

Mr Johnson said he had a more sceptical reading of the Bowen Basin Population Report 2010 than some other interested parties.

“Rather than using statistics to defend previous decisions, I advise people to look at the trends. Emerald shows what can happen when the emphasis is on accommodating miners with their families. The Isaac Shire area has gone the other way. Blackwater residents have clearly said that they don’t view these donga camps as any sort of legacy and that they would prefer the Emerald model. I do think their preferences should be taken into account,” he said.

Mr Johnson has a meeting booked with the Deputy Premier Paul Lucas, during the next sitting of parliament commencing on March 22 to further “canvas this unacceptable situation”.

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