Mining Communities’ Futures

Much has been said about the emergence of critical mineral opportunities and the phasing out of fossil fuels, as if the topics relate just to inert minerals and their impact only on the economy or the environment.

However Australian Mining Cities Alliance (AMCA) spoke out strongly today about the impending and very serious social implications for some substantial resource communities that cannot possibly survive ill-considered and unplanned transitioning.

AMCA Chair Phil Barwick said “The commentary on mining futures too often neglects the real people issues that have potential to destroy the futures previously hoped for in mining communities. In these communities the workers, their families and the small businesses that have toiled for so long to create and sustain the affluent national economy we all enjoy, despair at the failure of the broader community to understand the threats to their sustainability.”

“Further though the failure of governments to plan and make provision for orderly and beneficial transitions means that uncertainty abounds, exacerbating the plight of the mining communities.”

At its Board meeting held in Canberra last week AMCA resolved that the sustainability of mining communities is a priority advocacy issue. AMCA will develop and execute an advocacy plan to tackle this issue in coming months on behalf of mining communities around the nation.

Mr Barwick said “There is no doubt that governments receive incredible amounts of revenue from the resources industry. There is also no doubt that some of this should be used to invest in transformative infrastructure and the establishment of appropriate transitions for changing communities.”

“There are some examples where governments have shown a level of commitment to the transition for affected communities (eg Collie in Western Australia with its transition away from coal mining and North Stradbroke Island in Queensland with its cessation of sand mining).”

“But there are so many other communities in need of respectful engagement, solid planning and real investment. They include some whose future is destined to change for better or worse, but they also include others whose ongoing existence will benefit from timely reassessment of their future needs.”, he said.

“In coming months, we will be advancing proposals for appropriate government and industry commitments to engage with mining communities and their Councils with a view to collaborative and meaningful planning and investment.”

“We will fight for mining communities and their long-term sustainability in addition to our ongoing advocacy for immediate issues like housing affordability and the need to manage the impacts of Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) work practices.” Mr Barwick concluded.