Queensland’s deputy premier has rejected two proposals for a bauxite mine on western Cape York, arguing the plans wouldn’t properly benefit local people.
Queensland’s government should reconsider shelving plans for a Cape York mine a local mayor says.
Keeping the plans on track could’ve helped cut indigenous welfare dependency, Aurukun Mayor Dereck Walpo says.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney announced on Wednesday that proposals by two firms to open a bauxite mine at Aurukun on the western cape had been rejected.
The plans were shelved over concerns not enough jobs and economic benefits would flow to traditional owners.
Mr Walpo says it’s a huge disappointment for the community, especially given it’s the third time plans for a mine have been knocked back.
“We’re very upset about it,” he told AAP.
“A lot of people would have had jobs and we would have had a better economy and better autonomy. But it looks like we’re going to be stuck with welfare dependency now.”
About half of the 1200 people who live in Aurukun rely on welfare.
Mr Walpo says having the plans rejected was a double-blow for the community which had spent $20 million over two years on legal costs and other consultation fees.
“We (the council) feel bad because we got the community excited about it and now I really don’t know how I’m going to break the news to the community,” he said.
Mr Walpo plans to speak to Mr Seeney about whether he’ll reconsider and what other options are available.
Mr Seeney is open to discussions about developing the mine but says he’s determined to avoid the mistakes of the past, where firms had failed to meet commitments, he said.
“Our door remains open to proposals which would develop these resources in a timely fashion.”
Cape York Land Council chair Richie Ah Mat has also said he’s disappointed with the government’s move.
The Aurukun community waited 39 years for approval for the mine to be granted, he said.