Talks to form mining solution

LAND and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie has convened a meeting of local and State government representatives and mining companies in Gloucester.

Mr Laurie spoke at council’s monthly meeting last Wednesday about the need for greater communication between the various levels of government and mining companies.

He said one of the constant complaints of local councils across the State about mining had been the State government’s complete lack of acknowledgement.

“The perception in most regional areas is there is no information from the State government. They are making decisions and not including local government. All mining councils have been frustrated by the way they are dealt with by the State government. If the State government doesn’t engage with local government they will continue to have major problems,” he said.

Mr Laurie, who took on the position of Land and Water Commissioner 14 months ago, said he had spent the past year looking to progress interaction between State and local government on mining.

“State government bureaucrats and ministers need to be able to answer some tough questions,” he said.

“The majority of decision makers from the mining companies are the same as the State government. They’re not connected to communities.

“Getting the companies to realise that is very important.”

He said an active dialogue between all parties, including ordinary members of those communities involved, was critical.

“The State government needs to be able to explain the decisions it makes and what is going on. The mining companies also need to be open and honest,” he said.

“And if they can’t answer a question, they need to go and find out the answer.”

Mr Laurie said he saw the process as two-fold for Gloucester, with initial discussions to focus on the Waukivory Pilot Project before a more comprehensive approach is developed for all mining matters in the valley.

Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie.

Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie.