Rehabilitation work being carried out at the Mount Morgan mine.
Rehabilitation work being carried out at the Mount Morgan mine.

Mirani MP's views on Mt Morgan unemployment rate

MOUNT Morgan's unemployment rate is unacceptable and something needs to be done now, Mirani MP Stephen Andrew says.

Mr Andrew toured the southern part of his electorate this week and said he was disheartened to hear his constituents so frustrated with the unfulfilled potential of Mount Morgan and the surrounding region.

Mr Andrew sees it is essential that projects in the area go ahead, in order to alleviate severe economic stress, reduce an unemployment rate of 20% and save the dying tourism industry.

One Nation member for Mirani Stephen Andrew made friends in his first week in Parliament.
One Nation member for Mirani Stephen Andrew made friends in his first week in Parliament. Contributed

Residents are devastated after pinning their hopes of an economic revival on the Carbine Resources project, and the stalling of feasibility reports regarding the reopening of the Fireclay Caverns is adding salt to the wound.

Carbine Resources announced in March that the project would not be going ahead after failing to achieve any meaningful outcomes with key stakeholders to improve the terms of the various agreements associated with the projects to increase returns to an acceptable level.

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Mr Andrew hopes the State Government will re-visit all possible avenues, or explore new ones, until a solution is reached that will allow the project to get off the ground.

"We must do what we can to bring the unemployment rate down and boost the local economy and these projects provide an opportunity to do that so their success is essential" Mr Andrew said.

Furthermore, the Mount Morgan Fireclay Caverns have been out of operation since 2011 due to concerns surrounding stability and safety risks to the public. The closure of the attraction has seen visitor numbers decline from 5000 per annum to 3000 per annum.

The Queensland Government has carried out studies to assess whether the risks can be engineered and managed at an acceptable level, however further research is needed for a clear determination. While he understands the safety risks involved, Mr Andrew calls on the Government to fast-track these feasibility reports in hopes that a solution can be engineered sooner.

"I ask for a clear determination and official explanation of what needs to be done in bringing these projects to fruition and what action, analytical plans and economic/social modelling can be put in place by State and Local Governments for the regions, by asking what is the Queensland Government's capacity to illuminate developments for the regions and to properly access essential growth prospects through the implementation of long term productivity, particularly within my electorate" Mr Andrew said.

If both projects were to come to fruition, Mount Morgan and surrounding areas would almost certainly see a drop in unemployment rates and an increase in tourism, which would give locals a much needed reprieve.

Mr Andrew also echoes the opinion of locals who are calling for a new railway track to be built after the existing track that was damaged during floods in 2011. The tracks were previously used to offer train tours of the area.

"Anything that will boost the local economy and improve the livelihood of the residents of Mount Morgan at the same time is certainly something worth looking into."



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