LNP misses train over Mt Isa super pit funds
IT’S very strange to hear the announcement that the LNP will fund a feasibility study into a “super pit” in Mount Isa.
Mount Isa Mines ( MIM) has been investigating the expansion of their operations and building a “super pit” for a number of years.
Perhaps the LNP is planning to make a takeover bid for Glencore? If they are planning to nationalise MIM this would be a big departure from their usual “free market” approach, but maybe they feel such an extraordinary step is needed given their unpopularity in regional Queensland?
All jokes aside, throwing small amounts of money at the challenges facing the North West Minerals Province ( NWMP) is a cheap LNP stunt that comes straight out of the Labor playbook. Make no mistake, the NWMP is a key pillar of the Townsville economy and without infrastructure that supports further development the entire prosperity of the North is at risk.
This announcement by the LNP shows they have very little understanding of mining in this state and the link between the NWMP and the Townsville economy. The biggest issue holding back development in the NWMP is a lack of access to affordable and reliable infrastructure, particularly energy and rail. This issue is a result of actions – or inactions – by both major parties over a long period of time.
A perfect example is the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line. The rail line is an asset of national significance that is heavily under- utilised because of the way both the LNP and Labor have managed the pricing and access arrangements. Every major mining company in the NWMP has indicated that development is being held back because of the way infrastructure is managed.
This mismanagement of the rail line by Labor and the LNP has resulted in a proposal for a line to be built between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek, which would have dire implications for the Townsville economy.
Building infrastructure is an absolutely critical issue for any government, but there is no use building it if it doesn’t lead to more value- adding economic activity from industries like mining and mineral processing.
Both the LNP and Labor need to stop hiding behind third parties like the Queensland Competition Authority and Queensland Rail and commit to changing the way critical infrastructure, like the Townsville to Mount Isa rail line, is regulated. Cheaper rail and energy prices mean less money for the government but more development in regional Queensland.
ROBBIE KATTER, Member for Mount Isa.