03 Aug #SAVEGLENDEN BIGGER THAN FIGHT FOR SMALL TOWN: KATTER
The community-led battle to save the mining town of Glenden from impending demolition represents a “sliding door” moment for the Queensland Government, Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said.
Mr Katter, who lives in the North-West mining community of Mount Isa and has long spoken out against fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workforce practices, said there was an onus on the Resources Minister Scott Stewart “demonstrate what kind of future the government has in store for the State”.
Glenden, a town of 670 people in central Queensland, is progressively being abandoned as its “anchor tenant” – the Swedish mining giant Glencore – wraps up its local Newlands coal mining operations after four decades.
There is a real threat 300 remaining homes could be bulldozed in line with the company’s mining lease arrangements, despite the $1.8 billion Byerwen coal mine being approved just 20km up the road.
Mr Katter said it would be unconscionable for Queensland Resources Minister Scott Stewart, who himself is based in the regions, to allow Glenden to be bulldozed.
It’s understood the Minister – and the State Government – has the power to deny QCoal’s attempts to house its workers at the mine site through a FIFO arrangement, instead requiring them to live nearby at Glenden.
“We want to #saveGlenden but this issue is bigger than the loss of a small mining town,” Mr Katter said.
“It’s about what kind of Queensland we should be building for tomorrow, and whether there is actually a future for people outside of the south-east corner.
“It seems ludicrous to me that the State Government would endorse the loss of this community at the very same time the south-east is facing a population crunch and liveability and affordability are worsening issues in places like Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan.
“That’s before we even mention the housing crisis – we’ve got people sleeping tents and cars in the State’s capital, why wouldn’t we being encouraging them to head inland where there is plenty of space and work?”
Mr Katter said strategic policies, such as relocation incentives and regional home buyer grants, and adequately investing in industries and services to grow and support the regions were key.
He said revelations that the population of south-east Queensland would surge by 50 per cent to 6 million people by 2026 only increased his alarm.
In contrast, populations in rural and regional centres like Mount Isa, Ingham and Longreach are predicted to decline.