Councils push mining companies to pay for road damage

CENTRAL Queensland councils are pushing for new regulations to force mining and coal seam gas companies to pay for road damage caused by their operations across the state.

The push by the Isaac Regional Council was endorsed by the CQ Local Government Association and is up for debate at the state conference for council's tomorrow.

It was one of several motions put forward by CQ councils at the Local Government Association of Queensland's annual conference to help deal with the impacts of mining on regional communities.

They include a push for more Royalties for Regions funding and increased local decision-making powers to mitigate the social impacts of mining.

Isaac Regional Council found a weakness in the state government's Local Government Act; where the laws allow for compensation for damage to roads, but no regulation was in place to actually enforce the laws.

"This renders the provision in the Act essentially powerless in that councils cannot seek compensation from mining proponents for road damage," the motion reads.

The motion calls on the LGAQ to lobby the state to create the regulation, which could force miners to pay for any damage caused to local roads.

While local roads remain essential council business, the CQLGA also endorsed a motion to allow councils to "make decisions in the best interests of their area" on the creation of social impact assessments.

That motion said the Isaac region - one of Australia's top coal mining provinces - has struggled to "mitigate impacts from poorly planned industry development".

"Population imbalance, lack of social cohesion, water uncertainty and pressure on essential services and infrastructure can all be attributed to inadequate social impact assessments and ineffective mitigation," the motion reads.

The Council also described the state's social impact assessment guidelines as "poorly defined" and appearing to "decrease their (proponents) level of accountability in terms of upholding any commitments".

"It can also be interpreted as casting doubt on state government's intentions regarding holding proponents accountable to their 'commitments'," the motion reads.

That motion got the initial backing of the LGAQ, which has already made two submissions to the state government on the issue this year, but no changes have yet been made.

All motions will be debated during the conference on Wednesday, before any policy endorsement from the LGAQ is given.