STATE GOVERNMENT ASKED TO INTERVENE

Barro Group General Manager

Minister for State Development and Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney has been asked to intervene in the blockage of the Mount Cotton Quarry Extension Project following a decision by the Board of quarry owners, Barro Group to move ahead despite Redland City Council’s vote this week to vote down the $25 million investment project.

Barro Group will proceed with an Appeal to the Council decision in the Environment and Planning Court and work on the Appeal has commenced today.

Barro Group deals with local government in many States and we have to say we have never come across such a strange Council resolution or decision before. The Councillors flatly rejected and ignored the advice of their own highly qualified officers yet stated that they knew and were confident that the quarry would go ahead despite their rejection. In effect, Council is advocating that it does not want to make such decisions and asks for the Courts or State Government to come in and do their job leaving the community to pick up millions in legal costs.

The Councillors seemed to have ignored the needs of the greater community. All 145,000 people in Redland need an economic supply of quarry materials. There is not one other location in Redland that this type of project could be considered, the size of Barro’s landholdings and the gift of good quality rock, occurring in the valley, are unique.

I believe there is a systemic problem for Local Government to make decisions for projects servicing the whole of the community with 50 year horizons as many local governments are broken up into small Divisions and have 4 year election cycles.

Maybe these decisions are just too overwhelming for Local Government, but quarry materials are an essential community requirement and if Local Government fails to fulfill this responsibility then the Courts or State Government will have to look after the community.

The legal process is now proceeding with estimated costs of up to $1.5 million for Redland Ratepayers.

As the legal fee clock ticks over for Redland residents we will be seeking Minister Seeney’s intervention.

The Council decision to devolve responsibility for the Project to the State Government or the Courts could also mean a loss of control or on-going input for Redland Residents.

We structured our 50 year project to be extremely inclusive and work closely with community and Council. We remain keen to see that happen but again, this half in half out decision by Councillors clouds those issues considerably.

Barro Group has also decided to press ahead with its $50 million investment planned for Queensland.

The Council decision has caused a re-think about our additional $50 million investment package for the State. The Board however came to the conclusion that the Redland Council decision was so random and out of kilter that it does not reflect the attitudes, moods or legislative approach of the State and we therefore decided the Group would press ahead with all of its plans.”

I am hopeful the Deputy Premier’s commitment to economic growth in Redland city will drive him to intervene.

I can only assume that he won’t want to see $150 million in wages disappear, 50 new jobs vanish, and a $25 million project that can start immediately, simply evaporate. Unlike Toondah Harbour or Weinam Creek we have the investment dollars in the bank and can get underway, right now. We have 5 Government bodies recommending approval all we need is the final one.

The Mount Cotton Quarry Extension Project is about ensuring an ecological sustainable solution for the future. It is about providing the built environment we must have, and ensuring the wider environmental focus we need and demand.