Mr McEACHAN (Redlands—LNP) (10.47 pm): I rise to speak on the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability (Renewal of Mining Leases) Amendment Bill and the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill. I note that we are considering these bills in cognate. I acknowledge the Quandamooka people and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. I do respect that there are differing opinions within the Quandamooka people, as there are across the North Stradbroke Island community. I also want to acknowledge the work of my colleague and Redlands neighbour Dr Mark Robinson. The member for Cleveland has been a tireless advocate for locals, for jobs and for opportunities on North Stradbroke Island, and I commend him for continuing to do so in response to this proposed bill by those opposite.
The legislation put in place by the former LNP government was sensible, it was reasonable, it recognised the importance of sandmining to North Stradbroke Island’s economy and it had a nominated end date. Mining creates hundreds of direct and indirect local jobs both on the island and in the mainland Redland City. The 2019 end date and economic transition strategy proposed by those opposite provides no certainty for locals, with hundreds of jobs to be lost. A date of 2024 is an improvement, but I am satisfied that the 2035 closure date remains the most sensible time frame for the end of sandmining on North Stradbroke Island. Sandmining has operated on North Stradbroke Island since 1949. Currently operated by Sibelco Australia Ltd, it is an example of world’s best practice in sandmining operation.
The real cost of a premature end to sandmining can be seen in the following recent survey of Straddie Chamber of Commerce members. The survey found that 82 per cent of businesses reported at least 30 per cent of their sales were either directly or indirectly derived from sandmining on the island. That is putting aside the economic stimulus of the 104 Straddie locals including 35 Indigenous employees plus up to 23 more in my electorate of Redlands currently employed in the mining operation—local jobs for local people who, in turn, reinvest in their community; local businesses such as the corner store, newsagent and many more mum-and-dad operations.
Decisions like these are never as simple as the Deputy Premier would have us believe. There are flow-on effects to local businesses and industry. It is no surprise that the Deputy Premier is unaware of these issues, particularly given her refusal to meet with Straddie locals who opposed the early closure. What we see here is political pressure from groups who do not represent the views of the wider North Stradbroke Island and Redland City population. Those people who have contacted both the member for Cleveland and me about their concerns over the early closure feel as though they are being ignored by this Deputy Premier and the Palaszczuk Labor government.
The LNP position on sandmining and rehabilitation of the mine site is widely supported in our local communities. Legislation put in place by the former LNP government provided a reasonable time frame for the North Stradbroke Island economy to transition to other industries and provide for local jobs. Thus far the Palaszczuk Labor government has been unable to put forward a logical argument for early closure. No-one disputes that sandmining will come to an end on North Stradbroke Island.
What is in question, certainly from my perspective, is the disrespectful manner in which this matter has been handled by the Deputy Premier and the Palaszczuk Labor government. The Deputy Premier has continued to demonstrate her lack of respect for Queenslanders. Her actions—her callous disregard for local jobs and local people—are evidence of that. This is not the first time the Deputy Premier has acted in this manner. Her display during the vegetation management legislation debate demonstrated her blatant disregard for the effects of those insidious laws on landholders, not just those trying to run a business in primary industries but every Queensland landholder.
I was made aware of a meeting held by the Deputy Premier with union representatives on North Stradbroke Island. In a practice run for lockout laws, Straddie locals were locked out of the meeting. Locals reported that ETU members manned the doors and prevented them from entering the meeting at Little Ship Club in Dunwich. I have photographic evidence of that which I would like to table.
Tabled paper: Photographs, undated, of Electrical Trades Union employees .
It was even reported that some were being forcibly removed from the venue and press were prevented from attending. This is further evidence that government has no understanding of the real effect of the legislation. The Deputy Premier continues to demonstrate that she is more interested in ensuring green votes in her seat of South Brisbane than she is in governing in the best interests of Queenslanders. It seems to me that the Deputy Premier is doing a lot more than just deputising. It begs the question: who is the real premier of Queensland?
These bills are unnecessary. The LNP continues to support its 2013 position to extend sandmining on North Stradbroke Island to 2035. It gives a reasonable time frame for a proper economic transition. I say to the members opposite that I have spent time in Central Australia. I have spent time with Gurindji people. I have been to Wave Hill Station where Vincent Lingiari sat down and took on Lord Vestey. I have worked with the Wik people from Far North Queensland, and I know that there are Indigenous communities around the country that are crying out for an economic path out of the position that they are in. We are in an extraordinary position where we have a diverse economy on North Stradbroke Island, and we are taking that away without a proper transition.
I urge those members opposite to consider what this will do to all the people on North Stradbroke Island. I urge the crossbenches to consider it as well, because it is my belief that in a few short years if this is successful tonight we will see horrific effects of an economy that has been trashed, and that will be the government’s legacy. I cannot support this bill.