THERE was always a good chance that Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney was going to call in the decision on the application to extend the Mount Cotton Quarry.
The combination of a new government, determined to assert itself as no-nonsense and pro-economic development, with a project that has been “to-ing and fro-ing” since 2004, meant intervention was likely.
But with a court appeal also looming, the state government intervention became a fait accompli.
The quarry operators believe the resource should be exploited because it exists and there is a market for it.
If either of those conditions did not exist there would be no application for extension.
On the other side, since the initial quarry started much has changed about how the natural environment is regarded and how people wish to live in that natural environment.
Once large tracts of land to build houses or industry were cleared. The rapid population growth of the 1980s and 1990s in South East Queensland raised awareness of the dwindling bushland and habitat loss.
That is the context in which this quarry debate has been played out.
The state government may take a more pragmatic position based on its planning policy, which aims to protect extractive resources by zoning them as key resource areas.
If the state really wants to make decisions on all developments associated with key resource areas, it should take the application process away from councils. If not, keep out of it.
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