News

Mayors say population decline comments 'very dangerous'

DIVIDED OPINION: Comments made by Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott about population declines following the completion of coal seam gas pipelines have been labelled "totally wrong" by mayors in the Surat Basin.
DIVIDED OPINION: Comments made by Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott about population declines following the completion of coal seam gas pipelines have been labelled "totally wrong" by mayors in the Surat Basin. Contributed

MAYORS in the resource-rich Surat Basin have blasted comments made by Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott about communities preparing for a population decline as "misinformed" and "very dangerous".

In a television interview last week, Mr Scott said he believed the completion of coal seam gas pipelines linking the region to the liquefied natural gas plants on Gladstone's Curtis Island would signal a major turnaround in population growth around Dalby, Chinchilla and Roma.

The political stalwart's sentiments are not shared by Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown and Maranoa Regional Council Mayor Rob Loughnan, who told the Dalby Herald the development of towns within their respective local government areas had been geared towards the operational and maintenance phases of projects, not initial construction.

"Look, we've said all along we're developing our communities in relation to the operations and maintenance," Cr Brown said.

"The construction workforces will start to wane in certain areas…but you've still got an enormous drill program ahead of you.

"They're the people who are going to live in your towns."

A 2013 report by Energy Skills Queensland suggests that employment in the state's resources sector will peak at almost 15,000 in 2024.

When asked to clarify the comments he made during the interview, Mr Scott said he believed they may have been taken out of context.

"It's brought new job opportunities and new wealth, but what I was saying also is that we'll shortly start to see the reduction of personnel involved with gas development as they move from construction to production," he explained.

"We need to be prepared for the inevitable turning point when they fly- in, fly-out workforces are reduced.

"I did not say there were going to be no jobs."

Cr Loughnan said he had fielded numerous calls from concerned residents who had seen the interview.

"I was very concerned that our federal member appeared to be celebrating what he predicts will be the ultimate decline in rural population…over the next twelve months," he said.

"A lot of people have invested a great deal to build their businesses and relocate their families into this region, and that statement has to be hurtful for those who have taken a chance."

Cr Brown said while overall worker numbers would decrease post-construction phase, he believed it was the operational and maintenance phases that had the potential to "build communities".

"Our towns aren't going to go back to what they were previously, there's no doubt about that," he said.

Topics:  bruce scott, chinchilla, coal seam gas, csg, dalby, gas, liquefied natural gas, lng, maranoa regional council, mining, ray brown, resources sector, roma, surat basin, western downs regional council


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Shooting for stem cell treatment

AIMING HIGH: Rodney Dalheimer at the 2015 Rodwalk Shooting Fundraiser.

Rodwalk is holding a fundraiser at Dalby Gun Club.

Man trampled by horse on property

LifeFlight's Roma-based Surat Gas Aero-Medical Service has flown to a remote rural property north east of Roma after a man was trampled by a horse.

LifeFlight's Critical Care Doctor treated the patient on scene

Dalby murder, arson, burglary case mentioned in court

Mark Wilkes

Mr Wilkes was found in his burnt-out home on January 20, 2016

Local Partners

Great CSG sell off: Ever wanted to own a drill rig?

THE winding down of the coal seam gas boom across the Darling Downs has left drilling rigs, mobile water treatment plants and equipment up for grabs.

Shooting for stem cell treatment

AIMING HIGH: Rodney Dalheimer at the 2015 Rodwalk Shooting Fundraiser.

Rodwalk is holding a fundraiser at Dalby Gun Club.

Iconic corner store closes down after 50 years

CLOSING DOWN: Denver Hart, Benjamin Hartin and Brayden Bevan buy some sweets from Bob Riley.

The old corner shop on Drury St, Dalby, is closing its doors.

Man trampled by horse on property

LifeFlight's Roma-based Surat Gas Aero-Medical Service has flown to a remote rural property north east of Roma after a man was trampled by a horse.

LifeFlight's Critical Care Doctor treated the patient on scene

Dalby murder, arson, burglary case mentioned in court

Mark Wilkes

Mr Wilkes was found in his burnt-out home on January 20, 2016

Dalby Wheatmen celebrate a stellar season

WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: A-grade award winners Broc Turner, Daniel Merker, John Moloney, Paul Maguire, Sam Hogarth and Hugh Fordyce.

THE Dalby Wheatmen held their Presentation Night on Friday.

Beef producers raise the steaks

BEST OF BEEF: Stockyard managing director Lachie Hart with the awards won at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

Stockyard Beef has won Champion of the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

$3.6m to monitor 'biggest pollution event in Qld's history'

Linc Energy editorial.   Photo Alasdair Young / Chinchilla News

Money will be used for groundwater monitoring at the site

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

The Dixie Chicks to headline 2017 CMC Rocks festival

US country music group The Dixie Chicks.

ORGANISERS move festival dates to lock in US country music stars.

What's on the big screen this week

Denzel Washington in a scene from the movie The Magnificent Seven.

DENZEL Washington returns in a shoot-em-up Western.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E3 - Which picnic date is better?

The Bachelorette Georgia Love, centre, with her top 11 bachelors.

Lee and Matt get some one-on-one time with Georgia.

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state