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Wednesday, 10 November 1976
Page: 2578


Mr CARIGE (Capricornia) - I wish to support the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) who expressed the feelings of the people of the Maryborough district very well and very factually here tonight. I also support the remarks of the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns). The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Uren) claimed at one stage that we were not supporting the conservationists. I question that and ask him: How is it that the Capricornia Conservation Council received a grant of $6,000 some 6 weeks ago? If that is not supporting the conservationists, I am not quite sure what is. I would like to draw to the attention of the House what the leaders of industry and the leaders of the City of Maryborough said recently in reference to this report. They said:

The report is heavily biased in favour of environmental considerations and is apparently written from an extremely narrow viewpoint. The report obviously pre-supposes that Fraser Island is the exclusive preserve of environmentalists and scientists . . .


Mr Martyr - All from the south.


Mr CARIGE - They could well be. I will continue with my quotation:

The report obviously pre-supposes that Fraser Island is the exclusive preserve of environmentalists and scientists, with lesser beings perhaps permitted, provided they do not disturb the environment. Controlled industry and the requirements of such run a very poor last. Sandmining is obviously a dirty word to environmentalists, with timber harvesting only faring slightly better.

I think that there was reference to that here tonight by honourable members opposite. The quotation continues:

Evidence given by the Australian Conservation Foundation and views expressed in other areas by ACF people leave us in no doubt that the timber industry is also on borrowed time, despite their impeccable conduct on Fraser Island over the past 100 years.

What will be the direct result of the cessation of sand mining on Fraser Island? From the report we read that 300 people will be directly thrown on to the labour market. The present unemployment level in Maryborough stands at 916 people. The loss of direct salaries and wages amounts to $2. 87m per annum. The loss of the local content of operating expenses amounts to $ 1.41m per annum. The loss of secondary benefits to the total area represents $860,000 per annum. I have taken these figures from the report. The house property values in Maryborough will fall sharply due to the lack of demand, poor sales and the lack of confidence. If we accept that the value of 7 375 house properties in Maryborough will fall by an average of $5,000, we would have a net capital value loss to Maryborough citizens of $36,875,000. Commercial properties will also lose in value. This will be the immediate effect. I am not competent enough to say whether sand mining is actually harming Fraser Island. I am not arguing on that point. What I am saying is that if we are to stop sand mining on Fraser Island, surely it would have been more beneficial for the whole area to have it phased out over a 12-month period. It is interesting also to note in this chamber tonight that in reality not one Government back bencher has stood up and fully supported this action- this line that has been adopted.


Mr Stewart - Why do you not resign?


Mr CARIGE -I would fall into the same category to which you people belong; not on your life. The investors' confidence in Maryborough will also be shattered. Certainly, the decision will undermine several major projects. For example, I mention shopping centres and large complexes of home units. People will seriously think twice about investing their money in Maryborough now. It is all very well to talk about the tourist industry in Maryborough. It is all very well to say that in that area of Queensland we have a viable tourist industry. But in actual fact if honourable members like to look at the tourist industry in our area they will realise that it certainly is declining. I think it was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition who spoke about people going out to Fraser Island. He ought to realise that many of the people left Fraser Island. There was once a large tribe of Aborigines on Fraser Island. They moved out and now we are talking about people going back there.

Let us look at what Queensland will lose out of this. The loss to the State Government of revenue will include royalty payments, rail freight revenue, payroll and other tax and workers' compensation business through the State Government Insurance Office. What about the loss to Australia- to the Federal Government? The loss to the Federal Government will include company and income tax as well as sales tax on the equipment that the mining companies use. It will include export earnings of between $5m and $10m per annum. The honourable member for Lilley said that it was anticipated the mining would continue for a period in excess of 20 years. The period I heard was 23 years. What really worries me is this: If the Federal Government accepts this as the bible for all environmental reports, what will happen to my area of Agnes Waters where the sand mining companies have moved in and have established leases? What has happened there is that the conservation council has gone down -

Debate interrupted.







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