Miners’ camp plan a ‘mistake’

ISAAC Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker will fight the proposed workers’ camp earmarked for prime residential land within Moranbah’s urban footprint.

In a fiery speech to 400 Moranbah residents at the community centre on Thursday, Cr Baker declared the MAC Group’s mining camp a destructive, illogical and irresponsible development that would threaten the future of one of Australia’s greatest coal mining communities.

“The message for the government is simple. You can’t solve a housing crisis by taking the last remaining residential land for family housing, and stick Queensland’s biggest camp on it,” Cr Baker said. “You can put a camp in numerous places outside our urban footprint, but this residential land will be lost forever if this irresponsible development proceeds.”

After the Urban Land Development Authority approved the camp, which will house 3200 people, late last week, Cr Baker wrote to Premier Campbell Newman asking him to intervene.

“The Newman Government needs to call this development in, allow the proponents to work on solutions with the council, and re-decide the application in a way that meets legitimate community expectations, supports sustainable industry growth, rather than stomping on the community’s future hopes and aspirations,” she said.

“I hope the State Government can see that it is a big mistake to allow our community to be trampled by a distant bureaucracy (ULDA).”

Cr Baker dismissed speculation that resource projects were relying on this development to house their workers in order to proceed with mining developments.

“Relocating this development would in no way impact resource company arrangements for their workforce.”


Council slams mining camp

ISAAC Regional Council has slammed the Urban Land Development Authority over its approval of a huge workers camp near Moranbah.

The MAC Services Group’s application for a 3200-room facility on 50?hectares was approved on May 29.

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker has lashed out at the decision, which came just two days before Minister for Planning Jeff Seeney announced the State Government would transfer planning powers from the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA) back to councils.

“The ULDA has ignored and steamrolled our community at every turn,” Cr Baker said. “Our community objected to their draft plan over a year ago.”

A ULDA spokesperson said the size and type of the MAC group’s proposed facility was warranted in the short term to support the resource projects in the region.

The application was lodged in December 2011.

“We then objected to this record-breaking and permanent 3258-person camp development under their centrally imposed planning scheme – and they refused to listen,” Cr Baker said.

The spokesperson said only eight submissions had been received during public consultation early this year.

“The key issues raised related to the potential adverse impacts the facility may have on essential services in town,” they said. The ULDA imposed several development approval conditions.

“The ULDA is requiring that the MAC dedicate 5% of rooms (163 beds) as affordable housing for non-mining key workers or provide a comparable monetary contribution to the Isaac Affordable Housing Trust for the provision of permanent affordable housing,” the spokesperson said.

Significant infrastructure contributions also are required, including the provision of a delivery strategy, the construction of all local infrastructure at the site, a $3.4m contribution to local infrastructure and an upgrade to the Moranbah Access-Moranbah Railway Station Rds intersection.

Cr Baker yesterday wrote to Premier Campbell Newman urging him to intervene and put a stop to the project.

She will also host a public meeting at Moranbah Community Centre at 7pm on Thursday to discuss the development.


Moranbah residents oppose fly-in mining camp for 3200 workers

THE State Government will consider calling in the development of the state’s biggest mining camp for 3200 people planned for the town of Moranbah.

The town has signalled it has had enough of the thousands of people in mining camps and has demanded the State Government consider the overturning of the approval of the Urban Land Development Authority.

Two days before Premier Campbell Newman announced he was handing back planning power to councils, the ULDA approved the camp owned by American company MAC.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker labelled the decision as arrogant and out of touch and has written to Mr Newman asking his urgent intervention.

She said if the camp went ahead there would be almost as many fly-in, fly-out workers in town as there are residents.

“The sheer size of it is the first point against it,” Cr Baker said.

The 50ha site is on the outskirts of the town and right next to an emerging residential development.

“This is a ridiculous development, delivered by a bad centrally imposed planning scheme, which our community whole heartedly rejects. I am urging Premier Campbell Newman to act now to put a stop to it.” she said.

“The ULDA has ignored and steamrolled our community at every turn. Our community objected to their draft plan over a year ago, they refused to listen.” she said.

The town has battled major social issues since the influx of FIFO workers and rents have skyrocketed to $3800 a week.

Cr Baker said the project would have a devastating impact on the town.

She said the council and the State Government needed to discuss alternatives to the camp.

Cr Baker said the council simply could not sit back while an agency that the Government now controlled and which the Premier opposed approved a development that would “challenge the social cohesion” of the town.

Planning Minister Jeff Seeney has 10 business days to call in the development.


ULDA APPROVAL – MAC Moranbah South Accommodation Village

Public notice – MBH Community Meeting – ULDA Decision – MAC Moranbah South Accommodation Village

On May 29 2012 the ULDA approved a development application submitted by mining
accommodation provider The MAC Services Group Pty Ltd (The MAC) for a large-scale non-resident worker accommodation facility.

The MAC Moranbah South Accommodation Village has been approved to service 3,258 persons on a 50 hectare site and will be situated on the corner of Moranbah Access Road and Railway Station Road, Moranbah.

Isaac Regional Council would like to invite residents to attend a community meeting to be held in response to the Urban Land Development Authority approval.

Date: Thursday, 7 June 2012
Time: 7pm for 7.30pm start
Venue: Main Hall, Moranbah Community Centre

Councillors and Council Officers will be available to discuss the UDA Decision Notice.
For more information about this meeting please contact Isaac Regional Council on 1300 ISAACS (472227).
Chief Executive Officer

State reviewing power of ULDA

THE future of mining towns such as Blackwater and Moranbah are up in the air following Premier Campbell Newman’s push to derail the influence of state planning power, the Urban Land Development Authority.

Mr Newman has clashed with the ULDA on several occasions, labelling it “undemocratic”, “unaccountable” and “unelected” most recently.

On Monday, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney confirmed the LNP had started the process of reviewing the authority’s powers.

“As part of its election commitment, the LNP Government has started the process to identify state planning powers that could be transferred to larger local governments,” Mr Seeney said.

“The government believes it is important to shift power back to local government and, where appropriate, give that tier of government the independence to make decisions for their local communities.

“A number of reviews are already underway to make this happen.”

Sections of Blackwater and Moranbah are currently under the control of the ULDA, which was brought in to facilitate the growing and urgent need for affordable housing.

The news of Mr Newman’s push to hand back powers to local governments comes at a time when ULDA projects are well underway in both towns.

Mr Seeney said the LNP saw an ongoing role for the ULDA “or some derivative” in the long term in smaller local governments, but he did not confirm what constituted a smaller or larger local government.

He did promise the ULDA would complete the projects which were already underway, including the Blackwater Urban Development Areas.

The ULDA refused to comment on what the minister said, but it did offer a rundown of the work being completed in Blackwater and Moranbah.

“In Blackwater, for example, work is continuing on Aurora Close – a development of 12 townhouses currently under construction in Arthur St, which will offer the Blackwater community affordable housing options, particularly key workers in the town whose wage levels are generally much less than the resource industry,” a spokesman said.

“The ULDA is also currently assessing an application of a new development in Blackwater which will deliver 171 residential lots to the market.

“The ULDA is also reinvesting $6 million in the resource communities of Blackwater, Moranbah and Roma to provide affordable housing where the supply and cost of housing is making it difficult for local residents on non-mining incomes to rent a home in the community that they live and work in.”