Michael Roche
Michael Roche Contributed

Miners ridicule ban by council

A COUNCIL decision to place a moratorium on mining and coal seam gas in the Somerset region has been met with derision by the Queensland Resources Council.

Somerset Regional Council voted to ban the expansion of the energy industry at a council meeting this week.

However, the QRC CEO, Michael Roche, said the stand ignored the Australian constitution and labelled it "pre-election grandstanding".

While the council unanimously voted to declare the region a "no go" area for coal and coal seam gas, Mr Roche said local governments had no say in the matter.

"The minerals and energy resources under the ground belong to the people of Queensland and we elect state governments to make decisions on the best use of those resources for the benefit of all Queenslanders," he said.

"We must assume as a result of Somerset Regional Council's announcement it has factored in losing its per capita share of state royalties, estimated at $1.2 million this year. I am sure there are plenty of other communities who would be more than happy to divvy up Somerset's share of the royalty pie."

Somerset mayor Graeme Lehmann said he wasn't surprised by the QRC position.

"We are a small council and we know the big players like the Queensland Resource Council and CSG mining interests have sufficient funds to override what our community wants," he said. "All we want is for the Queensland government to support council in its decision and protect our natural environment from the big CSG players."

Cr Lehmann said the council was calling on the State Government to support the ban.

"Council is now calling for the Queensland Government to support us in our decision and give the people of Brisbane and Somerset certainty that our region will be protected from CSG mining."

Meanwhile, nine farmers were arrested at an anti-CSG blockade south of Beaudesert yesterday. The protest, organised by Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic, is trying to prevent Arrow Energy's plans to continue exploration in the region.



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