Now that the unimpressive parliamentary committee inquiry and report into the sand mining issue has concluded, attention re-focuses on the promises to end sand mining “by 2019” and ensure the island is protected and rehabilitated. Before being elected in 2015, Labor promised to “immediatey repeal” the Newman Government’s sand mining extension legislation and end sand mining by 2019 and to protect the island for current and future generations to enjoy. Those promises were made in writing on official Labor Party letterhead and by Jackie Trad during an ABC pre-election radio debate. They are now well overdue.
After her election, Premier Palaszczuk confirmed Labor’s pre-election commitments and promised to end sand mining “by 2019”, because Straddie is an “environmental and tourism icon that must be protected ”.
In her only public statement about the sand mining issue since her election, the Premier made very clear statements, including:
“The Labor Party has had a long-standing commitment to transition North Stradbroke Island away from sand mining, with an end to mining operations by 2019. We held this commitment in Government, the commitment never wavered in Opposition and we will deliver on this commitment now that we are back in Government…The decision (to repeal the Newman amendments) is in the best long term interests of the island…The Reef and North Straddie are Queensland environmental and tourism icons that must be protected…The longer sand mining continues on North Straddie the more damage it will do to the environment over the long term…We must make the tough decisions now in order to protect the island for generations to come.‟
To read the complete Question and Answer statement published by the ‘The Friendly Bay Islander”, click here.
In our Facebook posts we have detailed more reasons why Sibelco should no longer be permitted to mine, particularly on such a beautiful and fragile sand island – the second largest in the world! Click on this post in particular for a quick summary of the reasons why Sibelco’s sand mines should be closed in 2016. See our posts from December 2015 for links to the facts and sources behind these reasons. They include a serious public health issue arising from the fact that sand mining on Stradbroke produces the SECOND LARGEST EMISSIONS IN SEQ of toxic, air borne particulate matter (PM). The AMA has warned there is no safe level of exposure and that breathing PM can have serious health consequences, including death. Our posts contain links to AMA submissions on the dangers.
Remember, in 1976 the Federal Government stopped sand mining on Fraser Island with two months notice ! It accepted the findings of the Fraser Island Inquiry that sand mining causes “major permanent environmental harm”. The fact that sand mining produces dangerous air pollution was not then known.
Also, remember that Sibelco and some of its supporters have exaggerated all the benefits of more sand mining and downplayed all of the benefits of ending mining. For example it has claimed hundreds of job losses, whereas even the LNP Government in late 2013 accepted government economic advice that from 2015, at stake are only 86 island jobs, direct and indirect, with only some of these living on the island and most travelling from the mainland each day. The evidence now strongly suggests that there are fewer than 50 sand miners living on Stradbroke – see this Brisbane Times article. A $5 Million assistance package for these workers was announced by the Palaszczuk Government recently.
SIBELCO MAKES OVER 400 MILLION DOLLARS BUT PAYS NO INCOME TAX.
Click here to go to our Facebook post of 19 December, 2015 for more information.
THE PALASZCZUK GOVERNMENT’S REPEAL BILL NOW BEFORE PARLIAMENT
Our Federal Government ended sand mining on Fraser Island with two months notice, to protect the environment of the world’s largest sand island. The infamous Bjelke Petersen Government wanted a TWO year transition. On Stradbroke, the world’s second largest sand island, the Bligh government extended expired mining leases by more than 8 YEARS. The Newman Government attempted to allow even more mining in a “cash for legislation” deal with Sibelco!
STATE ELECTION CAMPAIGN AGAINST SAND MINING AND THE NEWMAN AMENDMENTS TO NORTH STRADBROKE LEGISLATION
CASH FOR LEGISLATION?
CLICK AT END OF THIS SENTENCE TO GO TO THE 2015 ELECTION FLYER, AND USE YOUR CURSOR OVER THE FLYER TO GO TO THE SOURCES – Ashgrove election flyer with hyperlinks to sources
Pre-2012 State election posts on Home page:-
Premier Campbell Newman (LNP)
LNP leader supports Stradbroke Island sand mining. In contrast, Campbell Newman’s father stopped sand mining on Fraser Island 35 years ago. Kevin Newman was the Federal Environment Minister in 1976 and stopped sandmining on Fraser Island just six weeks after receiving the Fraser Island Inquiry Report which found that sand mining causes major environmental harm.
Campbell Newman broke his pre-2012 election promises to restore rights on Stradbroke and not give Sibelco anything more. Read and listen to what Newman said – the transcripts
Former Premier Anna Bligh (ALP)
In 2010 then Premier Bligh said that sand mining should never have begun on Stradbroke but in April 2011 her government used special new legislation to renew expired mining leases that allow many more years of destruction.
The Bligh government adopted as policy the mining companies own plan for ‘staged’ National Parks on Stradbroke.
In July 2011 the Bligh government went even further and approved a dramatic expansion of the Enterprise open cut sandmine path.
Hypocrisy: Former Premier Anna Bligh in the Brisbane Times: “The truth is that sand mining should never have been allowed to begin on North Stradbroke Island. It was a mistake. The leases were issued during an era when it was easier to get a mining lease than it was to get a driving licence. It was the “rip it up and ship it out” era that saw the diggers begin to dig at our island’s heart”.
Open cut sandmining causes major permanent irreversible damage to the natural environment that is impossible to repair or rehabilitate. Read more.
Sandmining threatens frog
The Wallum Sedge frog (litoria olongburensis) is one of several ‘vulnerable’ species, threatened by sandmining. Queensland State Government policy increases the risk of pollution from sandmining entering the wetland habitat of nationally recognised endangered species that live in the
Sand-mining threats to the habitat of the endangered Wallum Sedge frog are acknowledged by both the Queensland government, and Federal government. Both governments have a joint Wallum Sedge frog recovery plan which lists sandmining as a threat.
See more photos and information about the 18 Mile Swamp wetland.
Sand mining on Straddie = mining madness
Queensland government Stradbroke policy a sham
Despite the ‘spin’ at the time, the former Bligh government policy did not stop sand mining. It did the opposite. It used special legislation to allow continued destructive sand mining of essential habitat, including of vulnerable frog species and the habitat of the unique island koala, now officially recognised as ‘vulnerable’. The former government did declare 50% of the Island national park, but that was ALP policy in 1990 and since then, it allowed much of the new ‘national park’ to be damaged by sand mining. The declaration of national park also essentially mirrored the mining company’s own ‘plan’ for national park – a plan which does not interfere with mining.
More sand mining further threatens the island’s ecosystems, fragile water bodies and the island’s economic future. The former Bligh government buckled to a giant overseas sand mining company and to its party’s power brokers. The LNP government under Premier Newman took this policy of environmental destruction to another level, despite the Federal government’s Fraser Island Inquiry concluding in 1976 that sand mining Queensland’s fragile sand islands causes, in the words of our then Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, “major permanent and irreversible damage” (for further information about the Fraser Island Inquiry go to ” In 1976 Fraser Island sand mining was stopped in just six weeks by Campbell Newman’s own father” ).
The Queensland government’s policy would be a joke if it weren’t so serious. Side stepping the expired lease laws applying elsewhere in Queensland with special new laws in 2011 was a Bjelke Petersen style tactic. The government cynically legislated around the Mineral Resources Act, because applying it to the expired mining leases may have ended mineral sand mining by 2013.
The sand mining company complained about the special legislation because it didn’t get everything it wanted, but it benefited greatly – the renewal of expired leases from between 9 and 14 more years locked in further sand mining on Stradbroke to enable Sibelco to cash in on record high prices for mineral sands. Why special favours to this company which cannot be trusted ? The Court of Appeal found in 2010 that it unlawfully removed and sold large quantities of Straddie sand for landscaping and building purposes. It was charged with the wrong offences and acquitted. Before those charges were even heard, this company was rewarded with special legislation extending expired mining leases ! Allegations of stealing the sand, worth an estimated $80 million, remain unresolved.
Straddie is the backyard of so many people of South East Queensland. The majority of the community opposes destructive sand mining tearing up the remaining ecosystems in this special place.