Dec 04, 2019

New Acland coal expansion battle continues

New Acland coal expansion battle continues

The CFMEU has joined the Queensland Resources Council in calling for the State Government to act on approvals for New Hope’s coal operations near Oakey.

It comes as the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) seeks leave to appeal to the High Court over the Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland coal mine.

New Hope says OCAA’s application does not change the position that there is no barrier to the State Government giving final approvals for the project.

CFMEU Queensland Mining and Energy District President Stephen Smyth said the Government must stand up for workers.

“This has gone on for long enough. I know first hand how important mining jobs are for regional Queensland,” Mr Smyth said.

New Hope workers deserved better than silence and stonewalling from the Palaszczuk Government, he said.

Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the New Acland Stage 3 project had received significant community interest and had a protracted legal history.

“My Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has been diligently assessing the mining leases and the associated water licence applications,” he said.

But QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane (above) believes the drawn-out process for approvals sends a poor signal to investors.

“If Queensland wants to attract new investment that create new jobs, investors have to be confident of the rules and regulations that apply,” Mr Macfarlane.

“While people respect the courts, they expect leadership from the State Government.

“150 people have already lost their jobs because of the uncertainly about the mine expansion. More are at risk without approvals. The Palaszczuk Government must act to back jobs.”

‘Lawfare’ seeks further delay after 12 years’ wait

New Hope chief operating officer Andrew Boyd described the latest actions of OCAA as ‘lawfare’ designed to delay a vital regional project.

“We have been seeking approval to expand New Acland Mine for more than 12 years,” Mr Boyd said.

“Over the past two years we have fought and won a series of legal battles against a handful of objectors to the project.

“In the latest fight, the highest court in Queensland ruled definitively in our favour, a fact OCAA has acknowledged by not challenging the Court of Appeal’s findings on the substantive issues.

“This latest stunt by OCAA has nothing to do with groundwater or any other environmental issue.

“It is clear that this action is nothing more than an attempt to delay final decisions on Stage 3.”

New Acland Stage 3 is expected to generate $7 billion in economic activity over the estimated 15-year life of the project.

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