Mining messages of boom and bust
CAN mining and tourism co-exist? This was one of a range of topics covered by Australia Institute researcher Mark Ogge who spoke at Cannonvale's Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) club last Wednesday night.
About 25 people attended the session on mining and its effects on other industries and communities.
Mr Ogge spoke about the scale of the mining boom. He said mining had crowded other industries, created skills shortages and driven the Australian dollar up. He touched on the knock-on effects of a high dollar to industries such as tourism and he reminded the audience that "mining didn't save us from the GFC".
Furthermore, Mr Ogge said that with 83 per cent of the mining industry's profits sent offshore, states such as Queensland had failed to capitalize on the so-called boom.
"Somebody's profiting out of it and it's not the state so I think as Queenslanders and Australians we should consider whether we want to do this stuff based on a whole lot of impacts [and] if we decide in the end, we'll risk the reef, we'll put up with climate change and all the FIFO problems, then at least we should benefit from it and we're not," he said.
Questions specific to the Whitsundays flew thick and fast from the floor as audience members asked about the relationship between mining and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's four pillars of the economy - tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.
"The problem with Campbell's pillars is that one pillar is knocking down another," Mr Ogge sai.
He said all other industries needed to "wake up and see they're getting a really bad deal".
Mr Ogge says ultimately "the boom will bust", but other industries may be lost in the process.
He says the first step in redressing the balance is to stop the proposed mining expansions, then wind back gradually.