Queensland Government announces plans to protect North Stradbroke Island

ALL mining will end on North Stradbroke Island by 2025, under new plans announced by the Queensland Government to declare eighty per cent of the island as national park by 2026.

Making the announcement this week, Premier Anna Bligh and Environment Minister Kate Jones said it was a huge win for conservation in south east Queensland and for the thousands of annual visitors to the Island.

Ms Bligh said she wanted to see North Stradbroke Island transform from "a mining island dependent on a finite resource to a haven for eco-tourism, fuelled by an environmentally sustainable economy."

Ms Bligh added that the national park expansion would occur "much faster" than was indicated by the government last year.

As part of the plan, a mining phase-out will include:

  • Yarraman mine to close in 2015;
  • Enterprise sand mine closing in 2019;
  • Three quarters of the island becoming national park by 2021;
  • All mining ending with the closure of the small silica mine, Vance in 2025; 
  • 80 per cent of the island becoming national park by 2026; and
  • The mine path on Enterprise to be controlled and regulated to prevent the company's proposed expansion and to protect the most environmentally sensitive areas on the lease.

Following the introduction of the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Bill in Parliament, Ms Jones said the government had carefully considered the competing interests on the island and determined the right balance for the phase-out.

"We want to achieve the quickest, most practical end to mining on Straddie while also allowing enough time for a smooth and effective economic transition," Ms Jones said.

To manage the transition away from mining on the island and associated economic impacts, the government will establish an Economic Transition Taskforce to provide leadership and identify appropriate forms of government support.

"The Taskforce's work will complement the detailed land use planning we are putting in place with Redland City Council," Ms Bligh said.

Ms Jones said the government was well-advanced in negotiating an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Quandamooka people, the traditional owners of the land.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) called the announcement a "blow" to Queensland's mining reputation, saying the government had reneged on a promise to allow sand mining to continue until 2027, rather than 2019 as announced this week.

"The QRC is calling on the state government to re-think today's overtly political announcement and get back to focusing on policy that will enhance and not further undermine Queensland's global reputation as a secure destination for billions of dollars in new resource investments," said QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche.

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