Former LGAQ president to lead uranium mining team
THE Central Queensland councillor leading a team investigating uranium mining resumption believes his exposure to mining and gas exploration conflicts will help him in the new role.
Central Highlands councillor Paul Bell - who retired last week as Local Government Association of Queensland president after eight years - said the implementation committee was primarily about community consultation and he felt he had something to offer after his involvement in the "community space" for many years.
"When you talk about something new which involves change, there is always a reaction in the negative but there are also reactions in the positive," he said.
"My roles over the past 30 years of local government have been about safe and secure options that can ensure the community's expectations and ambitions are met but also that we have good opportunities for continual review."
Premier Campbell Newman told Queensland Parliament on Tuesday that he had appointed Mr Bell because he had spent decades representing the mining communities of Central Queensland and understood the importance of creating opportunities in the regions.
"Uranium exports could earn tens of billions of dollars in exports for our country over the next two decades, providing thousands of jobs across rural and regional areas," he said.
Mr Newman said the committee would make recommendations by mid-March next year on numerous issues, including how the uranium industry worked in other states, regional and community development opportunities, safety and logistics issues, approval processes, rehabilitation and royalties.
"This framework will ensure that uranium mining recommences in Queensland with world's best-practice environmental and safety standards, while also creating an attractive environment for investment," he said
When asked, Mr Bell said his personal views were off the table, that the government was resuming uranium mining after a hiatus since 1983 and his role was to consult communities ahead of government policy decisions.
He said that would involve asking people what they felt would be the minimum transport safety requirements, whether those exports would occur through a Queensland port or outside of Queensland, workplace health and safety minimums.
Mr Bell said the committee would also work out how to ensure Queensland benefited from uranium mining and develop social and economic frameworks around granting leases and permits for export.
The committee will also include Northern Gulf Resource Management Group chief Noeline Ikin, Queensland Resources Council environmental director Frances Hayter, Queensland Government chief scientist Geoff Garrett, Natural Resources and Mines Department acting director-general Dan Hunt and, subject to confirmation, indigenous leader Warren Mundine, who is also Australian Uranium Association director.