Treasurer’s “secret mine deal” shows real leadership

Treasurer Andrew Fraser has done the right thing in working around the Government’s proposed strategic cropping land (SCL) policy. As reported in today’s Rockhampton Morning Bulletin’s lead story, Treasurer’s secret mine deal:

QUEENSLAND Treasurer Andrew Fraser has struck a secret deal with a coal mining company to allow it to avoid proposed laws to protect the State’s best farm land.

The Morning Bulletin has obtained a letter revealing that Mr Fraser spoke on behalf of the State Government to negotiate a deal with Bandanna Energy over two mine proposals on the Central Highlands.

The deal would allow Bandanna Energy to go ahead with plans for a Central Queensland mine without being subject to the proposed strategic cropping land laws.

SCL is questionable policy given Queensland’s abundant agricultural land, with the real constraints on agriculture (it appears to me) being the availability of water and labour. For example, as reported in Queensland Country Life, there are not enough workers to fill ag void:

MANAGING Director of Global Agriculture Recruitment and Training firm Positive Perfection, Stuart Austin, says there’s an endless supply of agricultural jobs in Australia, not only for the horticultural industry, but not enough workers with suitable skills to fill the void.

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