CCIQ disappointed by early move to end sand mining

Thursday 26 May, 2016

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) strongly disagrees with the State Government’s decision to phase out sand mining on North Stradbroke Island by 2019.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said there was significant disappointment with the passing of the government’s North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill in Parliament last night.

“We strongly opposed the purpose of the Bill to substantively phase out sand mining by 2019,” he said.

“CCIQ and the North Stradbroke Island business community understand that sand mining must inevitably cease but it is the unnecessarily short transition period that was the basis for our objection to this Bill.

“Despite the government’s commitment to jobs, the Bill will unquestionably remove 116 jobs on the island with the potential to impact an additional 184 indirect jobs.

“The loss of jobs to the North Stradbroke Island community comes at a time when the trend unemployment rate for Queensland is again on the rise, increasing to 6.2 per cent in April 2016 and compares to a national unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent.”

Mr Behrens said the Palaszczuk Government had got it wrong and the decision would cost hundreds of jobs.

“It is totally at odds with the commitment to jobs,” he said.

“A thriving and prosperous local tourism industry takes decades to develop and mature. It must be understood that the island’s restaurants, corner stores, bakeries and cafes achieve most of their sales from the local community.

“A survey of Straddie Chamber of Commerce (SCC) members found that 82 per cent of businesses reported that at least 30 per cent of their sales were directly or indirectly derived from the sand mining operation.

“Local residents who employed through the sand mining operation will relocate as they progressively lose their job from the cessation of sand mining.

“Many of the island’s businesses who add to the tourism industry will be adversely impacted and will be forced to close.

“This will in turn significantly compromises the ‘visitor experience’ and the anticipated transition to tourism will face a more difficult, uphill battle.

“Straddie businesses have strongly opposed the closure of mining in 2019 and over 85 per cent of them favour keeping the sand mining going until at least 2025 or later.”

Mr Behrens said CCIQ supported a more economically responsible position, as proposed by Sibelco, for cessation of sand mining by 2027.

“We sympathise with local businesses, which will be decimated. There is no question that this should be a key issue at the next State Election,” he said.

In a snap social media poll conducted by CCIQ this week, the majority of respondents were not in favour of the government’s decision to phase sand mining out by 2019 and preferred a later option.


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