ISAAC Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker has rejected Premier Campbell Newman’s statement the former IRC had failed in its town planning measures, and said she remained committed to working with the State Government on future development applications.
Cr Baker last week issued a mass call to arms to protest the ULDA’s approval of a 3256-person MAC worker camp on the only remaining residential land in Moranbah.
Residents took up the challenge and bombarded Premier Newman through various means, including Facebook, which prompted the publishing of a statement late Friday afternoon.
“My government believes that councils are best placed to make decisions about the development of their own communities,” Mr Newman wrote. “Unfortunately, the previous council had not created a town plan for Moranbah that allowed for sensible development of housing for families and single people that was affordable.”
Cr Baker rejected the claim and said the former IRC had developed a town plan which was over-ruled by the ULDA.
But she refused to inflame the situation further and said the IRC was committed to working with the State Government on the future of Moranbah.
“There was a town plan,” Cr Baker said. “The issues we’re asking is to call the application in and to work toward an alternative solution. The critical issue is that it is a large-scale mining camp on good quality residential land, and Moranbah is landlocked.”
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli will today meet with IRC representatives.
This is a fight we must win: Pearce
FORMER Labor politician and mining communities advocate Jim Pearce has bolstered the Isaac Regional Council’s call to arms to mount a campaign protesting the MAC camp development in Moranbah.
Mr Pearce said the 400 people at last week’s meeting were a great starting point in venting their passions and concerns, but more was needed.
“What we need to do is continue to broaden our approach every time,” Mr Pearce said.
“Even think of doing other things like demonstrations in front of BHP, in front of Anglo Coal, or just standing there handing out brochures with all the details on it.
“Be prepared to get outside the box and targeting people more with the concerns of the communities, and make sure they’re getting the message.”
Let down by the government of which he was a part, Mr Pearce said he was “suspicious” of the LNP government and its attitude toward mining companies.
“We were badly let down by the Labor government,” he said.
“It almost broke my heart because our campaign was run in such a way it gave the (LNP) government the opportunity to make good for themselves and to say we’ve heard the community, we’re going to insist that mining companies put in at least 20-30% of the workforce and give (workers) a choice to live in these communities.
“I’m very suspicious as to what is going on.
“There are significant issues with what (Jeff Seeney) is saying.
“There’s an attitude of ‘we’re very close to the big end of town and we’ll be working with them to get what they want’.
“I think we’re going to see communities become very outraged with this government, but here is a good opportunity to prove they are listening.”
Mr Pearce said Moranbah needed an unwavering resolve and a winning attitude to ensure the town was not overlooked.
“You have to have an attitude of ‘we’re going to win this’, but we can only win it if everyone has a go,” he said.
“That’s where it’s up to myself and other leaders in the community to… push the issues as much as we can.”
Family homes the best answer for Moranbah
ROSE Vella has seen Moranbah’s highs and lows.
While she admitted the MAC camp was needed to house the growing population, Mrs Vella said it should be built on a mine site to alleviate the pressure families face trying to remain in the town.
In the past 40 years, she has seen young families move to Moranbah to try to make a go of things, but with the short supply of housing, she had also seen them leave.
The influx of workers would also add more pressure on resources and facilities already stretched to their limits, she said.“I liken Moranbah to going through growing pains,” Mrs Vella said.Within the last six to nine months, residents knew of houses being sold but not being told they were being ripped down and replaced with two-storey units.
“There are double storey units being built right next to family homes.”
Mrs Vella said residential houses should be built rather than the 3256-person camp to give families the opportunity to live where they work, and with the increased number of permanent residents, there would be the need to upgrade Moranbah’s facilities.
“The way the town is progressing, young families are coming but the question is whether they will stay when their children go into upper primary or high school because the town doesn’t have the facilities.”
Workers keen to have a chat
COMMUNITY groups are “screaming out” for volunteers and transient workers are desperate for any conversation to beat the boredom and ward off depression.
These observations are from Rebecca, a Moranbah resident who, while delivering Census forms around the town, was overwhelmed by the number of people who invited her to sit, have a chat and spend some time with them.
“There were a younger guy and an older guy that asked me to sit down and watch the football,” Rebecca said.
“There was a woman who said she was lonely and detained me for 15 minutes just for a chat. A lot of people would try and keep me there and have a chat for five minutes or more.
“On Census duty, there had been a couple of people here and there who were depressed, and it really concerned me.”
Rebecca, who wished to be known only by her first name, said there had previously been talk of community engagement plans within the Moranbah township to foster relations with all residents.
“But as far as I know, nothing has been actioned,” she said.
“Sporting clubs would love to have people help out and get involved. But if they live in the camps or the caravan park, they can’t really get involved in the community.”
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