Mirani MP under fire for attack on mining industry
AN UNAPOLOGETIC Jim Pearce has refused to back down from his attacks on the mining industry as he comes under fire from the state's peak resources body.
Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said the Mirani MP's comments that the industry did not care about employees' safety could not be further from the truth.
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In parliament Mr Pearce accused multinational mining companies of treating the workforce with a lack of respect and said many people were suffering heartache from job losses.
"We have safety issues in the mining industry simply because the workers do not have the courage to step forward and lodge a concern or identify a risk," Mr Pearce said.
"They should be able to step forward and identify these risks and know that the company is backing them.
"Unfortunately, mining companies have been allowed to take control and have become really difficult to work with."
Mr Roche said the sector had been working well with the new Labor government and had sought assurance from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that she and her cabinet did not share Mr Pearce's views.
"Resource companies are particularly troubled because, as chair of the infrastructure, planning and natural resources committee of the parliament, Mr Pearce will be deliberating on legislation affecting our sector," Mr Roche said.
"I have every confidence that the Premier understands the importance of our sector, which contributed $2.5 billion in royalties last year, and is responsible for one in four dollars of the Queensland economy along with one in every five jobs, and supports 17,000 businesses state wide."
Mr Pearce told APN he also had concerns about a lack of land rehabilitation and the damage job cuts and fly-in, fly-out was doing to communities.
He said he had had 'a gutful' of seeing jobs taken away from the community and the impact that has had in Rockhampton and Mackay.
However, Mr Pearce said he did not want to "slam" the mining industry because it had been good to himself, his friends and many communities. He said he simply wanted to have constructive discussions about fixing the sector's problems negatively impacting Queensland and its economy.
"Let's not pretend there's nothing wrong out there," Mr Pearce said.