May 1, 2012

New Mount Isa Mayor On Uranium Push

Published on Tuesday May 01 2012 (AEST)  

Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady has says he will be talking to the Queensland Government "at every opportunity" about developing a uranium industry in the state's north-west. 

Mr McGrady, a former Labor state government minister, has long been a supporter of the sector and pushed for the former Bligh government to overturn bans on uranium mining in Queensland. He says he is not a uranium "lobbyist", but he is advising two uranium companies. "I am on the advisory board of two uranium mining companies," he said. "I haven't decided what I am going to do, but what I can say is that I will be [a] full-time mayor. 

"At the same time I will also be promoting the uranium industry, or the mining of uranium, because to me it is all part of the business development of north-west Queensland. "At every opportunity - the same as I will be taking up the matter of trying to develop the Legend project [a proposed phosphate project] and any other economic development proposal I can see for my area. 

"This is what local government is about, doing the best you can for the people you represent. "Whatever I can do to promote this industry I certainly will." Meanwhile, Mr McGrady says he is seeking advice on whether he can retain a director's position on the Townsville Port Authority. He says he would like to remain on the Townsville Port board because most of Mount Isa's minerals are exported through the facility. "The previous government had a policy whereby any person who was on local council could not sit on the board of a government-owned corporation," he said. "Quite honestly, every tonne of product that comes out of Mount Isa goes through the port of Townsville. "I think it would be in the interests of this community if I were to retain this position, though I am not quite sure of the legalities of it." 

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) says there is nothing legally wrong with Mr McGrady keeping his role with two uranium companies. LGAQ spokesman Greg Hallam says it is a matter for Mr McGrady about whether he continues those jobs. "The Local Government Act is very clear - Mr McGrady is able to continue in those roles, there is nothing to stop him doing that," he said. "But he would not be able to vote on any matter before the council concerning those two companies. 

"The most important thing is it's lawful but there is nothing illegal about that." 

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