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The state election in Queensland will be held on 31 January 2015

Election notes: balancing mining activity

One Uniting Church congregation has expressed real concern about the legal and property rights of local people impacted by the state government’s establishment of the “Galilee Basin State Development Area”.

However, the Queensland government has removed long-standing public rights to object to mines.

Previously off-limits areas of western Queensland are being opened up to oil and coal seam gas mining and Aboriginal people are concerned about the Wild Rivers in Cape York while the Uniting Church Downs Presbytery has called for a moratorium on gas exploration permits and production licences in the area, citing concerns about safety, fairness and a lack of conclusive evidence about the environmental impact.

UnitingCare research reported that those consciously linking their mental and emotional state to the mining and gas boom appear to feel an acute sense of powerlessness. This was particularly true for long- term residents and people on the land.

Concerns has been expressed about new industrial and mining developments and dredging on the Great Barrier Reef and with UNESCO is reported to be considering listing the world heritage site as in danger.

With all of this, rapidly tapering demand and significant international oversupply for coal Queensland faces a new challenge of selling the massive quantities of coal that can be produced. The high prices of last decade encouraged rapid development of previously marginal deposits but mining companies now have to find buyers who are prepared to pay the price and will be looking for ways to reduce production costs.

While mining has been an important contributor to the health of the Queensland economy the very real question of sustainability needs much closer consideration.

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