22 November 2013
Sharnie Kim and Kirsty Nancarrow
Federal Coalition MP Warren Entsch has hit out at the Queensland Government for jeopardising a major mining project on Cape York in the state’s far north.
Mr Entsch, the Member for Leichhardt, says the Queensland Government has made an “appalling decision” by banning mining on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
The move sent miner Cape Alumina into a trading halt.
The ban affects the company’s $1.2 billion Pisolite Hills bauxite project, which was slated to create around 1,300 jobs and was given ‘significant project’ status by the State Government last year.
Mr Entsch has issued a statement describing the ban as “Wild Rivers on steroids” and an “absolute disgrace”.
He has accused the Government of not following due process and says the move sends a bad message about development prospects in Queensland.
Cape York main road link upgrade
Mr Entsch also says there is no money to honour a commitment made by the previous federal government to seal the main road link in Cape York.
The upgrading of the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) will be high on the agenda at a Regional Development Australia (RDA) forum in Weipa today.
The local RDA chief executive has called on the Government to honour a $210 million commitment for the upgrade made by Labor before the federal election.
However, Mr Entsch says it is one of billions of dollars worth of projects Labor announced but did not budget for.
“It’s one that I supported,” he said.
“I supported it absolutely at the time when [Anthony] Albanese announced it leading up to the election, but I did say at the time I hope this is not just smoke and mirrors.
“I hope he’s actually got money attached to it and apparently there’s not.”
The state Member for Cook, David Kempton, says the upgrade is too important to the Cape’s economic development not to proceed.
“There’s a huge amount of waste because the money that is put in is in reparation and not in betterment,” he said.
“This is an issue that I’m constantly talking to our Government and the leadership team about getting a proper strategy for the PDR and even on the savings we could start a sealing program.
“That’s the number one priority for me.”
Courtesy of ABC News
22 November 2013