Elysia Harverson’s claims that I am looking to “ban all forms of mining” in the region are as bizarre as they are unfounded (Bunbury Mail, 26/10).
My No Fracking in the South West campaign is limited to ensuring the region remains frack-free. It will have no impact whatsoever on our conventional mining sectors.
I worked in local mines for three decades before I entered parliament so I know first-hand how important a strong mining industry is for local jobs and apprenticeships.
There are appropriate places for extractive industries to operate, as there are areas where tourism or agriculture are the obvious strengths.
Our conventional mining industries are able to be set up in such a way that they do not significantly impact our groundwater, forests or waterways, or our high value tourism and agriculture businesses.
When it comes to fracking, the safety of those assets cannot be guaranteed – hence mine and Mark McGowan’s commitment to a complete ban on fracking in the South West.
As for South West industry, I and WA Labor announced our $20 million Collie Futures Fund this month.
The fund will underpin the research and economic development needed to transition Collie-Preston’s economy and ensure the region’s industrial jobs hub continues providing employment in mining, refining and power generation – and explores opportunities in agriculture, tourism and training.
Ms Harverson also forgets that it was her senior colleague, Energy Minister Mike Nahan, who announced the Liberal-National government’s plans to close Muja AB, C and D within 10 to 15 years.
Dr Nahan has still not visited the Collie-Preston electorate to brief locals on the government’s plans and the state government still has not committed any funding to help guide the region’s economic transition.
Without sensible planning for Collie-Preston’s future, the 3000 direct jobs in the Collie industrial strip – employing people from Collie to Eaton to Capel and beyond – will be under serious threat.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray.
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