Minister plans to introduce Straddie mining legislation this year

North Stradbroke Island may only have four years to prepare for the end of mining after the state government announced plans to stop all mining on the island by 2019.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said he hoped to introduce the legislation this year.

It would mean Sibelco would not have the option to extend its Enterprise Mine mining lease, which expires on December 31, 2019.

Under current legislation, the miner has the option of extending its lease to 2035, on expiry.

The four-year deadline to 2019 was part of an ALP election commitment made in a letter from retiring Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tim Mulherin to Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello, days before the January election.

Labor promised voters it would repeal LNP government amendments to the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act made in 2013.

Last week, Mr Miles met with Sibelco chiefs to discuss the island’s economic transition after mining.

He said there were about 200 jobs at the Enterprise mine that would go when mining ended. Others have estimated about 110 Sibelco workers lived on the island.

Mr Miles said the government would introduce an economic development plan to kick-start the island’s economy and create enough jobs to offset any losses.

Sibelco spokesman Paul Smith welcomed the opportunity to discuss the island’s future and said residents deserved certainty.

He said mining provided jobs for about 600 people - either directly or indirectly - on the island and in the Redlands area.

“We recognise the importance of working together to secure a clear end date, even if it’s earlier than currently legislated,” Mr Smith said.

 “We understand the need for certainty for all stakeholders and want to work together on a transition strategy, looking at the environmental, community, indigenous and economic realities facing North Stradbroke Island’s future.”

 Mr Smith said he and other island residents hoped the government would take a collaborative approach and consider all stakeholders.

Environmental lawyer and member of Friends of Stradbroke Island Richard Carew said ending sand mining in 2019 was consistent with ALP policy.

“We have known since the Fraser Island Inquiry in 1976 that sand mining causes major, permanent environmental harm,” he said.

“It’s continued for too long on beautiful North Stradbroke Island. The island’s future depends upon its natural environment  being protected from further damage.”

 Cleveland MP Mark Robinson made an impassioned plea to premier Annastacia Palaszczuk not to shut down Straddie.

He said it was a disgrace the island’s 2000 residents were not consulted before the announcement was made.

He said the move would cut up to 600 jobs, including 50 aboriginal positions, and create a $130million loss to the local economy and in state mining royalties.

“Island residents today told me they are angry and confused that they will lose their jobs, livelihoods, house values and businesses,” Mr Robinson said.

“This appears to be the government’s payback to the Greens for their election-winning preferences.

“The LNP remains committed to the fair and practical economic transition that is in the existing legislation so that there is sufficient time to grow a diversified economy without job losses.

“I call on the Labor government to park their decision, listen to the local people and start a consultation process with residents.”

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