Miners do a job on environment

ONE of the saddest things to watch in recent years has been the realisation dawning on the faces of the desperate that, despite laying out big money to training organisations and relocating, that there were no golden egg jobs for them in the mining boom.

In Western Australia next month the Fair Work Ombudsman will seek to determine why Filipino workers employed on the North West shelf received just $3 an hour or $US900 a month for an 84-hour week.

The case is laying bare some of the reality of Australia's so-called resources boom.

The companies involved failed in attempts to keep the matters out of court claiming the Fair Work Australia Act did not apply to them.

Meanwhile in Queensland a whistleblower has spoken out on the ABC's Four Corners exposing the risk the state's underground aquifers face from rushed coal-seam gas approvals.

As well as opening boot camps for troubled teens perhaps the Attorney-General could also pursue just who was responsible for demanding those approvals without proper diligence or all necessary information.

In February Campbell Newman said it may be worth the CMC looking into the processes.

Given the push for more leases, the sooner that is done the better. It is telling the coal-seam gas industry is using a former rugby league player rather than a scientist to re-assure the masses.

It is frightening in 2013 that we continue to borrow from the future by placing short-term commercial imperatives above the environment.

There is absolutely no doubt about the worldwide demand for energy. It is a consequence of a ballooning global population coupled with a failure to focus investment on renewable energy sources.

The question is should a nation put its groundwater supply and food production at risk to satisfy that demand?

Politicians who offer the prospect of jobs as a justification to do so must also explain what happens when the resource is depleted.

Governments at all levels need to show more not less responsibility in managing the environment.

The unseemly rush to pump gas from every conceivable nook and cranny on the east coast is little more than a "to hell with the consequences" cash grab that threatens rather than enhances our long-term prosperity.

Without thorough evaluation we have no understanding of the long-term impacts on underground aquifers and their ability to continue maintaining flows of high-quality water to our rivers.

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