East Gippsland Shire Employees wanting to smooth the path for miners (2011)

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/edic/greenfields_mineral_exploration/hearings/20110926_-_East_Gippsland_Shire.pdf

This is heavy going but worth persisting. In a submission into a Parliamentary Inquiry into greenfield sites for mining, current (Weigall) and former (Richardson) East Gippsland Shire Council staff are bemoaning agencies taking an ‘agency perspective’ when dealing with Environmental Effects Statements rather than falling in to line in a pre-formed conclusion that mines should just go ahead. They argue for a single ‘go to’ person or ‘champion’ who can set up the right connections for miners (particularly foreign ones) and  smooth their path through regulatory processes. (Quite an opportunity for someone with experience and contacts in local government to set themself up in such a role!.)

Weigall and Richardson also argue for upfront assessment and investment by government in to the infrastructure needed for mining – claiming that it will lead to positive legacies for impacted communities. The question is, why should government, ie we taxpayers, have to pay for miners and their shareholders to make their millions while leaving communities and the environment permanently damaged. If the government is willing to invest millions in to a community, it should be for genuinely sustainable projects that add long-term value and don’t leave communities with a mess and a massive clean up bill.

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