I’m MC at a free public forum in Brisbane tomorrow (Tuesday) evening on the topic of Can Queensland Afford the Mining Boom?
The forum is organised by The Australia Institute, whose Executive Director, Dr Richard Denniss will be speaking. It will explore the economic and social downsides of the mining boom. (I imagine some of the environmental downsides will get a mention too). I did a brief interview with Richard Denniss about this issue on my weekly radio show on 4ZZZ FM. You can listen to it by clicking on this link.
Rather than taking this as an ‘all mining is bad’ message, I’d see it more as a ‘not all mining is good’ position, including being aware of and trying to mitigate or prevent some of the many negatives that can and are coming from a ‘full steam ahead’ approach to the current mining boom.
This is a concern which is getting much wider attention across more of the political and media spectrum of late. Graham Lloyd in The Australian has written a number of pieces in recent times touching on some aspects of this issue, including this one about concerns over potential loss of highly fertile farmland and impacts on water quality in the Liverpool Plains and elsewhere, and this one about concerns in Broome over the likely impact on affordability and the social fabric in the region.
Of course, Queensland seems to also be putting a large part of our hope in rapid expansion in coal and gas to drive economic growth. No doubt this would produce a nice looking number in regards to GDP growth, but such a figure does not measure the economic downsides particularly for the vast majority who are not directly employed in the mining area.
The forum goes from 6:15pm – 7:15pm, Tuesday 9 August at the Brisbane Workers’ Community Centre, 2 Latrobe St, Paddington. It’s free, and as befits a politics in the pub style event, is intended to be relatively informal and discussion provoking.
I just found this interesting YouTube video of an Al Jazeera story, looking at different aspects and impacts of the mining boom on north-west Western Australia. Well worth a look.