Mayor puts mining ban on agenda

ONLY weeks after the Scenic Rim called for the State Government to rescind mining permits, the Mayor of the Somerset Regional Council is calling for a moratorium into the industry in the Brisbane Valley.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann will be proposing the moratorium at next week's council meeting with the intention of becoming the first Queensland council to ban coal mining and coal seam gas extraction.

Cr Lehmann said he would be calling for the ban following community concern.

"There has been a great deal of concern in the local and broader community about the potential impacts of the proposed coal exploration and potential for coal seam gas mining in the Somerset region," he said.

However, a moratorium put in place by the council would have no real power, with the final decision on mines and energy developments lying with the State Government.

Despite this, Cr Lehmann said his proposed moratorium was not merely symbolic.

"We're showing people that's the way we do think. There are a lot of people out there calling for the council to be doing more and this is a way we can do that."

Cr Lehmann said maintaining the region's tourism and agricultural base was a priority for the council.

"The Somerset Futures 2010-2020 plan defines 'natural Somerset' as a key principle, where the region is 'a place where the natural environment and rural lifestyle are valued and protected', and an area which is 'scenic, rural, clean and relaxed'."

Cr Lehmann said the scientific community was divided on the long-term impacts of CSG and he would not risk damaging the local area in the face of that uncertainty.

"I do not consider it is worth jeopardising our natural environment and water catchments by allowing this type of development.