Gladstone mayor wary of mining exploitation

MAYOR Gail Sellers will take that concerns resource companies will use and abuse the Gladstone area to a state conference of Queensland councils.

Gladstone Regional Council fears resource companies are unwilling to consider their social footprint because of legislation changes.

The council will put forward a motion at the upcoming Local Government Association Queensland conference about the issue.

It wants the LGAQ to pressure the Queensland Government to bring back social impact management plans.

In a bid to reduce red tape for major projects the government changed legislation so proponents no longer needed to submit the plans as part of Environmental Impact Statements.

"And now it's taken out (of the legislation), it has to be through negotiations," Cr Sellers said.

"And that's not going to happen. It needs to be legislated."

She said it meant missed opportunities for funding hospitals, social workers, entertainment centres, pools and sporting grounds.

The council states in its written motion, to be heard at the annual conference in Mackay later this month, it has already suffered lasting impacts from projects.

All but two of the 77 Queensland councils will join together to put forward motions about the biggest issues in their communities.

The LGAQ must pursue any motions that pass at the conference.

Cr Sellers believes the motion will gain traction with many other councils.

"The people in Queensland have particularly felt the impact of mining," she said.

Council is worried unless major project proponents are required to mitigate their social impacts they will be left to foot the bill for infrastructure and services the projects require.

The LGAQ understands the government has no plans to re-introduce the requirement for the preparation of the plans at this point in time.

In June 2013 the organisation provided comments to the government that the new social impact assessment guideline and draft policy failed to embrace councils as a facilitator of growth in resource regions.



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