The State Government is currently undertaking a process whereby it has identified the location of significant reserves of extractive materials across Queensland.
This process is not exclusive to the Scenic Rim region, in fact, draft Key Resource Areas (KRAs) have been
identified in numerous South East Queensland council areas including Brisbane, Logan, the Gold Coast, the Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Region, Lockyer Valley and Somerset.
The purpose of this process is to protect the State’s interests and that of all Queenslanders by maintaining the long-term availability of these important material reserves for potential future use. This will be achieved by ensuring these areas are protected from incompatible land use, such as the development of residential housing above the resource or within mandated buffer zones.
The designation of these KRA sites is about identifying the location of resources, it is by no means a green light for industry to exploit these today, tomorrow, whenever. It also provides a level of certainty for property owners, industry, future residents and the wider community as to potential future land use, a degree of certainty that has been lacking from previous State Governments.
In the case of the Scenic Rim, the eight sites identified as KRAs for possible rock and sand quarrying represent less than 2% of the region’s geographic footprint of 4238sq km, which includes mandated buffer zones. The impact is even less in real terms as five of the identified sites already have current approval for quarrying operations.
This is also entirely unrelated to Mining and Coal Seam Gas extraction which the State Government has repeatedly pledged is off-limits in the Scenic Rim.
Further, the State Government acknowledges that how individual councils protect Queensland’s KRA interests through their planning schemes and decision-making will vary depending on local issues such as population and development pressures, existing urban form, economic activity and community acceptance of mining and extractive industry.
In short, Council remains empowered to consider future applications for the development of these KRA sites as it would any other planning application, which includes taking into account the views of the wider Scenic Rim community.
Council’s Community Plan, developed in partnership with the local community over a period of 18 months, captures residents’ vision and aspirations for the Scenic Rim during the next 15 years and we are guided by the values detailed in this document.
The Plan outlines the importance of preserving our natural surroundings, however, this is not to the absolute exclusion of the development and industry needed to help grow this and other regions.
Striking a balance between our environment, development and industry, which may include appropriately planned and managed extractive operations, is crucial to maintaining a sustainable and prosperouseconomy. The Scenic Rim’s extractive industries generate jobs and opportunities for region but, at the same time, co-exist with our primary production and tourism industries.
Any submission from Council to the State Government in relation to the proposed KRA sites will reflect the importance of maintaining this appropriate balance.
Cr John Brent, Mayor