The member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter said he understands the uranium issue is still on the table with the new Labor Government and he urges them to take a measured approach to the issue for the sake of the State, while pledging to use all his power to see the uranium ban is not rigidly put in place.
“I have spoken to various ministers and the Premier on this topic since the election and have emphasized the need for jobs out here in North West Queensland,” Mr Katter said.
He applauded the approach of the South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill.
“Although he is an avid opponent of uranium mining, he at least called for an enquiry into the impact and benefits of the industry.
“Anyone even close to government right now should be lying in bed at night thinking of ways to create new industry and jobs.
“That’s our paramount concern out here in the North West. Not because it will make us rich but because we can see the benefit the industry will have first-hand and we can see how the state will benefit.”
Mr Katter said his main argument with the former LNP government in the debate leading to the removal of the ban in 2012 was that the economy needed investment.
“It needs a boost and if you want one at no expense to the tax payer, then look no further than uranium.
“It is true that they are unlikely to be mining it in the next five years but that is as much an argument to not introduce a ban as it is to introduce a ban.
“A ban will only strangle exploration activity and where you find uranium you are likely to find other minerals like copper. This means that if exploration is discouraged with a ban on uranium mining, we lose both investment and opportunity in the west.”
Mr Katter said there were many ways of addressing the concerns people may have with regard to uranium mining in Queensland.
“We can exclude remote areas or leases that have already been advanced in remote areas. Again, we have the luxury of not having to rush into any ban as there is no commercial demand for this in the short term.
“The people that should be most worried about this industry already live here in the North West and you will be hard pressed trying to find more than a handful of objectors to an industry that can help keep our region alive.
“Those people with a harsh social agenda out there would not want us to participate in any mining activity at all, but the reality is, we desperately need this industry to stay afloat. We are on our knees at present in Queensland and no longer have the luxury of pandering to the Green Agenda because the costs are just too great.
“There are hundreds of jobs that can come of this $6b industry and the multiplier for mining jobs is 4 to 1 so that indirectly we are looking at up to 1,000 Queensland jobs.
“If this government is serious about creating jobs they will engage with me about alternatives to their social agenda other than a rigid all-out uranium ban,” Mr Katter said.