Mirani candidates share visions for improving Mount Morgan
THE Mount Morgan area has struggled in recent times.
Given that it is nestled in the district of Mirani, The Morning Bulletin has approached the electorate's aspiring political candidates to find out how they planned to step up to return the once-proud mining town to its former glory.
Stephen Andrew - One Nation incumbent candidate for Mirani
"Mount Morgan has been the backbone of economic recovery in Queensland before and it could help pull Queensland and Australia out of debt for a third time.
A staggering amount of economic and employment potential remains at the Mount Morgan gold mine, as well as the tourism industry that can boom as a result, and it is a great shame the government has chosen to ignore it.
I have inspected the gold mine a number of times, including with an old-timer who showed us where mountains of gold-laden ore were dumped decades ago, waiting to be processed.
By restarting production of gold in one of the most historic mines in Australia, the current leaseholders also are able to fix a looming environmental disaster.
It really is incumbent on the government to fix the problem caused by the very mining practices that dragged Queensland out of debt in the past.
Private enterprise is prepared to stump up $50 million for the first part of fixing those environmental issues and we desperately need the State Government to match that commitment.
The new technology to be employed at this site could then be rolled out at a number of other sites around the state to ensure greater environmental protections while taking advantage of our resources.
An additional bonus would be the ability to re-open mine tours, historic caves, and revive a tourism industry that would rightly place Mount Morgan on the must-do list for Queensland visitors.
I made several attempts at securing a meeting with the Minister for Mining in Queensland before parliament was dissolved and, regardless of who wins government on the weekend, I will continue to push for action on this key issue for Mount Morgan.
It's hard to see how these major parties can promise billions and billions of dollars they don't have when there isn't even a budget to work with.
But what I can promise is that I will support taxpayer investment in industries that will bring dollars back into the economy and the state's budget. It is with a productive economy that we can invest in essentials like water security at Number Seven dam.
That's why I'm backing gold production at Mount Morgan to KickStart Queensland and to bring jobs and prosperity to this historic town."
Shane Hamilton - ALP candidate for Mirani
"Locals have told me that they reckon I've been to Mount Morgan more times in the last six weeks than Stephen Andrews has in the last three years.
I've been speaking to hundreds of people here about the need for a secure water source, employment pathways for young people, and a more reliable bus service to Rockhampton.
Locals have been telling me these issues and I am listening.
Jobs have been at the forefront of people's minds-and as a tradesman myself-I'm proud to be part of the team that will deliver free TAFE and free apprenticeships to under 25s.
I also know how valuable tourism is to the community and I'm hearing requests for the old mine and the fire clay cabins to be reinvigorated. I'm also hearing a lot of requests for a new mountain bike trail which would attract visitors from the surrounding regions on weekends.
As a miner myself, I support the resource industry here and the new legislation Labor has just been passed that will allow for fast mining leases to be approved for beneficial reuse of tailings.
If I am elected, I will be your voice in government and ensure that Mount Morgan gets back on track to economic recovery.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has a strong plan for economic recovery that is already delivering better jobs and helping Queenslanders get back on their feet."
Traci Newitt - LNP candidate for Mirani
"I have visited Mount Morgan many times since I have been endorsed as the LNP Candidate for Mirani and I absolutely love this great community.
I have listened to the community and have heard loud and clear that the number of tourists visiting the town has been declining. We need to bring the tourists back.
I am proud to announce an LNP government will invest $300,000 into the tourism development in Mount Morgan. In the first instance we will commit to release the government studies into the safety of the Fire Clay Caves and investigate works that are required to make this area safe for tourists and undertake these works. We have also committed to provide funding of $100,000 to the Mount Morgan Promotion and Development Inc to enable this community group to undertake development of tourism opportunities and new site attractions in Mount Morgan.
It's time we pave a clear way forward to reinvigorate tourism in Mount Morgan, employ locals and kick start our economy.
This tourism investment will create local jobs and boost our tourism economy. The LNP is committed to supporting our community, creating jobs, and bringing tourists to Mount Morgan.
The only way to implement our economic plan is to change the government on October 31. When Queensland is building, Queensland is working."
Ben Watkin - The Greens candidate for Mirani
"I grew up on a property just past Eton Range.
We did cattle and sugarcane. When I was young we sold off the sugarcane bit and moved into town, but I continue to live and work in the region.
I've always had an interest in technology, innovation and doing things differently just to see if there's a better way.
Around Mt Morgan we see the legacy of old mining practices, and shut down industry - the other parties aren't offering much of a future - or a clean-up.
The Greens will build up essential services like health, education, and public housing, but we also have a plan for the regions, including a jobs rich transition to renewables. Mt Morgan can be a part of that.
It's a promising site for Pumped Hydro Storage - a super cheap way to store the energy generated by the big renewables projects we're planning for the region.
There's even the potential to rehabilitate the mining void, then use it for Pumped Hydro once water conditions are improved.
There is also our free school breakfast and lunch policy which we hope will increase student engagement in the classroom, school attendance and alleviate child poverty."
Jason Borg - NQ First candiate for Mirani
"A major issue for the residents of Mt Morgan is long term water security, highlighted currently by the low volume in the No 7 Dam.
NQ First is committed to providing $25M dollars towards establishing a pipeline, possibly linked to the Rookwood Weir, to provide the necessary security.
Without long term water security it is difficult for the town to forge ahead, particularly with the possible restart by Heritage Minerals of the gold mine and tourism ventures such as the Fireclay Caves.
This funding would come from NQ First's "Water for the North Program", which will provide water security for residents in CQ, NQ and FNQ, which for too long have been forgotten by major parties as they concentrate on SEQ."