Mining and tourism together, not one or the other
The tourism and resource industries have shaped Queensland’s economy for decades and it’s coexistence must be encouraged into the future to grow the number of regional jobs and build much-needed infrastructure.
Off the back of Deloitte Access Economics’ report, which valued the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion, discussions have turned towards what this means for the mining industry.
CCIQ Senior Policy Advisor Catherine Pham says the fierce opposition between mining and tourism proponents is leaving little space for discussions around a balanced approach.
“These two powerhouse industries are both vital to the Queensland and Australian economy,” Ms Pham said.
“It’s important to recognise that they have long co-existed in this state and governments have done a great good job in capitalising on all the opportunities afforded by both sectors.
“Queensland would not be where it is today if one of these industries had not been able to successfully advance because of political roadblocks.
“More co-operation between both sides and within government is required for the greater good.”
Ms Pham said the two industries had more synergies than many people realised.
“If you take the development of regional airports for example, which were crucial for the mining industry and its workforce during the boom years, the tourism industry benefitted then and now from this type of infrastructure which opened up opportunities for greater passenger movement,” she said.
“Those who do fly-in and fly-out also spend money in a way similar to a visitor, which supports these regional businesses who otherwise would service just a very small customer base.”
CCIQ acknowledged the growing concerns around the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but believed there were ways to safeguard it without shutting down investments in other industries.
“It is great to see Queenslanders and tourism businesses passionate about protecting the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Pham said.
“Without that passion and advocacy the Great Barrier Reef would be a lot worse off.
“There definitely needs to be more done to protect the health of the reef, particularly when 64,000 jobs are reliant on it, but it should not be to the detriment of the many other industries that exist here in Queensland.
“In a way, the mining industry has become the easy target, whereas agriculture for example may not feel the full wrath despite the World Heritage Committee being concerned most about agricultural run-off and the scale of future development.”
With both the tourism industry and the mining industry benefitting from the explosive economic growth in Asia over the past two decades, it is vital that the two sectors can continue to respond to international demand so that they remain key drivers of the Queensland economy for many years to come.