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Closing legal loophole will help to secure jobs for regions

21-Aug-2015

Proposed changes to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in Federal Parliament today have been welcomed by the peak industry body representing the resource services sector in the Mackay region, Resource Industry Network.

Resource Industry Network Chairman, Tony Caruso, said the change to the law was not about shutting down sound environmental concerns, but rather ensuring those people speaking had a vested interest in the region.

“Our members are locally-based supply chain companies who see opportunities in regional Queensland being stifled by anti-coal strategies being played out through certain groups based in inner cities around the country and who are deliberating using legal loopholes to delay and frustrate investment and infrastructure.

“It’s extremely frustrating to see and we congratulate the Federal Government on moving to close the loophole in Section 487 of the Act in order to ensure any court action is relevant.” The proposed changes to the Act tabled by Attorney General Senator George Brandis will not weaken the ability of individuals or groups to participate in comprehensive environmental assessment processes at the state and federal level. They simply remove the ability of groups not directly affected by the project to lodge legal challenges after the environmental approval has been granted. Mr Caruso said the potential closing of this loophole, as well as today’s approval of the Abbot Pt Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), would go a long way in opening up the Galilee Basin, which includes Adani’s Carmichael Mine, meaning thousands of jobs for Queensland’s regional towns.

“What will be most significant for our regions is the multiplier effect projects such as Carmichael will have when they move into full scale production.
“For every one full time equivalent job based at the mine, there are up to four jobs created in our region in associated industries, such as manufacturing, engineering and maintenance to name a few.

“Because our region is already heavily geared towards the resources services sector we are looking at a significant employment opportunity created as a flow-on from the project. This in turn has an important flow-on into our economy.”

Mr Caruso said the ongoing tactics of the anti-coal groups and the decisions being made by our governments were being watched closely by international investors.

“Potential investors in other projects could be put off by the delays being placed on projects through vexatious litigation. This could have a detrimental effect on future projects and further erode the economic viability of our communities.”

“No one is advocating for the environment to be pushed aside in favour of development proposals. All proponents of mines, rail and ports must, by law, include an Environmental Impact Statement that is approved by Government and open for public scrutiny.

“We believe there is room for industry and environmental concerns to work productively together to ensure the best outcomes for our community. We call on residents to support industry and speak up about the valuable role it has in the sustainability of our region.”

Media Contact: Kelley Porter 0411 113 703