LET­TERS

Whitsunday Times - - YOUR SAY -

En­vi­ron­ment needs to be pro­tected

IT IS ob­vi­ous to any­one who has worked on or ob­served the di­ver­sion and min­ing of Coral Creek Collinsville North Queens­land by the QCoal Sonoma mine, that some­thing has gone se­ri­ously wrong with the gov­ern­ment ap­provals and reg­u­la­tion pro­cesses.

QCoal promised to pro­tect Coral Creek with a buf­fer zone in their com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions and EIS (En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact State­ment) un­til they re­ceived ap­proval for the Sonoma mine, and then ap­plied for an amend­ment to mine it.

We also learn that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has weak­ened the con­di­tions of the EPBCA (En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion & Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act) Re­fer­ral that re­quired the plant­ing of 500 Black Iron­box trees in Coral Creek as a bio­di­ver­sity off­set, after the plant­ings all died.

Nat­u­ral re­gen­er­a­tion is now go­ing to be re­lied on yet may fail as in the 2012 QCoal Drake mine EIS, three CSIRO Cli­mate Change re­ports pre­dict longer dry spells in­ter­rupted by heav­ier pre­cip­i­ta­tion events and an in­crease in se­vere cy­clones with the po­ten­tial to in­crease ero­sion rates and flood fre­quency, with im­pli­ca­tions for river flows, wa­ter qual­ity, and the de­sign stan­dards of in­fra­struc­ture.

Any­one who has had any­thing to do with the EIS process and con­sul­tant re­ports on min­ing op­er­a­tions is aware that they are any­thing but in­de­pen­dent.

There is an ur­gent need for an in­quiry into the en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tion pro­cesses in Queens­land and Aus­tralia.

A so­lu­tion to this sys­temic prob­lem is a statu­tory au­thor­ity that keeps the de­vel­op­ers and gov­ern­ments at arm’s length from the con­sul­tants so that re­ports con­sider all the costs and ben­e­fits for all of the com­mu­nity and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

The present sit­u­a­tion is de­stroy­ing our en­vi­ron­ment and ecosys­tem ser­vices for

short term profit at the ex­pense of our com­mu­nity’s vi­a­bil­ity and the in­her­i­tance of our chil­dren and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. — Garry Reed, Scottville WITH our strength­en­ing econ­omy comes a par­tic­u­lar need for qual­ity, skilled trades­peo­ple.

The Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment’s $60 mil­lion ap­pren­tice sub­sidy scheme will help meet this need while si­mul­ta­ne­ously turbo-charg­ing the fu­ture ca­reers of go-getter young men and women in the Whit­sun­days.

The Aus­tralian Ap­pren­tice Wage Sub­sidy pi­lot will sig­nif­i­cantly sub­sidise the cost of ap­pren­tices to Whit­sun­days’ busi­nesses.

El­i­gi­ble em­ploy­ers in ar­eas such as plumb­ing, me­chan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal, car­pen­try and hair­dress­ing will re­ceive pay­ments based on rel­e­vant award wage rates.

Sub­si­dies will be pro­vided at 75 per cent of the ap­pren­tice’s award wage in the first year, fol­lowed with 50 per cent in the sec­ond year and 25 per cent in the third year.

The scheme will be tri­alled from Jan­uary 1, 2019 un­der the Aus­tralian Ap­pren­tice­ships In­cen­tives Pro­gram.

It’s an in­cen­tive that I’m

con­fi­dent will en­cour­age busi­nesses and em­ploy­ers to en­gage a new ap­pren­tice and I ex­pect a high take-up.

Em­ploy­ers in the Whit­sun­days will also have an in­cen­tive to take on an ap­pren­tice aged 21 to 24 un­der the Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment’s ex­tended Sup­port for Adult Aus­tralian Ap­pren­tices scheme.

From July next year, el­i­gi­ble em­ploy­ers will re­ceive a one-off pay­ment of $4000 to take on an adult ap­pren­tice in this re­vised age range, which un­til now has been avail­able only for those aged 25 and over.

A trade qual­i­fi­ca­tion is ev­ery bit as im­por­tant to the

econ­omy as a univer­sity de­gree and I look for­ward to see­ing the out­comes of these prac­ti­cal and constructive schemes.

Visit www.aus­tralian ap­pren­tice­ships.gov.au/ pub­li­ca­tions/aus­tralianap­pren­tice-wage-sub­sidy for more de­tails.

— Ge­orge Chris­tensen,

Mem­ber for Daw­son

Ap­pren­tice pro­gram to trial in 2019

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