Scott in push to protect key land

WITH the impact of mining creeping closer to the region, Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott said our area's prime quality agricultural land must be protected.

Mr Scott is in meetings with resource companies both today and tomorrow to discuss the proposed open-cut coal operations in the Galilee and Surat Basins.

As well as being concerned about environmental issues, Mr Scott said he wanted the companies to answer questions on the social impacts of mining.

"When (mining) companies come to town they drain the local staff, including from local councils, because they pay a lot more money than traditional business pay," Mr Scott said.

While Mr Scott said he thought there were opportunities for growth through the resource sector, protective measures such as bringing in people from overseas or high unemployment areas would need to be considered.

He said even in Warwick we could start to feel the effect of an increase in cost of housing and unaffordable rent.

While the State Government's strategic cropping land legislation came into play this week, Mr Scott said he was waiting to see whether it was legitimate or just "window dressing."

Meanwhile the Southern Downs Protection Group, which aims to raise public awareness on exploration permits, elected its first committee.

Dawn Heath is president, Tony Symonds is vice-president, Leeanne Undery is secretary and Maureen Shearing is treasurer.

The group will be hosting another public meeting on February 15, from 7pm-10pm at the Warwick Town Hall.

The next general meeting will be held on February 8, from 7pm, at the Warwick Library Meeting Room.

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