By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Mine-Field: The Dark Side of Australia’s Resources Rush
By Paul Cleary (Black Inc., $24.99, softcover, 206 pages)
“Little stands in the way of the people and the resources rush” is an alarming claim that should have authorities taking note.
Paul Cleary puts forward a strong case in counting the true cost of Australia’s mineral addiction, sounding a timely warning that governments and companies are putting royalties before people.
The resources industry of both mining and energy have coexisted for decades and mostly it has been a positive influence, particularly in regional and remote areas.
However, the frantic pace of resource development tilted the balance of coexistence to where mining rules our society, economy and even the political system.
Cleary fittingly claims that the human and economic costs of this expansion are too high a price to pay.
While mining has been a catalyst for development, it has wiped out small communities and towns; built on top of 30,000-year-old sacred sites;
constructed ports and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; occupied vast tracts of prime farmland; and diverted entire rivers.
Mining has spread to just about every corner of the country, especially the farming regions on the east coast; the coal country of the Hunter Valley, the black soil plains around Narrabri and Gunnedah, the Darling Downs and the grazing country of the Surat and Galilee basins.
Noteworthy counsel is commendable as Cleary also points out that this insatiable demand for new properties could permanently damage Australia’s food bowl and water resources which is a ‘high price to pay for the driest continent on earth’.
He says serious regulatory reform is needed if Australia is to avoid the pitfalls of resources-sector dominance with improvements needed in three key areas: project regulation, taxation and minimising the human impact.
Cleary tells a convincing story that’s alarming in its facts.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.