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QRC calls on Queensland government to introduce legislation

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World Coal,

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) will ask the State government to provide certainty around the process required to approve an expansion of New Hope Group’s New Acland coal mine.

The QRC’s request comes after the High Court referred an appeal by a small group of environmental activists against the expansion back to Queensland’s Land Court.

Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, said New Hope and the Queensland resources industry is looking for an assurance from the State government that if the approval application is returned to the Land Court, the next ruling from the Land Court will not be further delayed by challenges and appeals by activists.

He said there was precedent for the government to take action to support the expansion of New Acland Stage 3, which was approved for development by Queensland’s Coordinator General in 2014.

“Former Premier Anna Bligh enacted legislation in 2007 to allow for an expansion of Xstrata’s Wollombi coal mine,” Macfarlane said.

“The Premier took this action after the Queensland Court of Appeal found in favour of objections to the mine and referred the matter back to the Land Court for a re-hearing.

“The Premier’s response was to announce her government would legislate to remove uncertainty saying:

“My government is not prepared to have this uncertainty. Next week we will legislate to validate the mining lease so the mine can proceed, but only with stringent environmental requirements.”

“Right now, Queensland desperately needs new jobs and a boost in economic activity to stimulate a post-COVID recovery,” he added.

“That won’t happen unless the industry has certainty and confidence in the approval process for mining applications.”

Macfarlane explained hundreds of workers employed at New Acland have already lost their jobs and local communities and businesses are suffering because of a small group of activists who have not accepted the Coordinator General’s decision.

“The QRC has consistently argued that New Hope’s proposal to expand its opencast mine near Oakey should have been approved by the Queensland government after it went through the appropriate state regulatory channels and consultation processes and received Coordinator General approval,” he said.

“Right now we need to be focused on attracting new investment and job opportunities to help Queensland recover from COVID.”

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