Liberals dig in on mining costings

THE opposition has defended its mining policy from attacks by the government, disputing claims it will cost up to five times as much as it has predicted.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman announced on Wednesday that the Liberals would move Mineral Resources Tasmania to Burnie in its first term of government, as part of a $1 million plan over four years that includes mining promotion.

But Resources Minister Bryan Green said the move would cost between $3 million and $5million, and would separate specialist geologists from the core library, located in Hobart.

Mr Green said that under the State Services Act, each of the 40 employees at MRT would be entitled to a moving allowance of up to $50,000.

However, regulations under the act do not specify the amount, saying that allowances above moving costs would be at the discretion of the employer.

Mr Green said separating staff from the library made no sense.

"This core library is used every day by MRT staff and its specialists," Mr Green said.

"Moving these staff 300 kilometres away and leaving the library where it is would be completely ludicrous."

Opposition mining spokesman Adam Brooks said its plan did not include moving the 2700-tonne core library, and said it was wrong to suggest MRT staff would not be able to access it easily from the North-West Coast.

"Over the past 14 years, the government has spent millions of dollars digitising the core library so that it can be accessed anywhere, any time," Mr Brooks said.

He said staff who did not wish to move would be redeployed within the public service.

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