The Queensland Land Court has recommended against approval of the Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs of Queensland- one of Queensland's most productive farming regions.
Final decisions are now required by the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines (for the mining licence) and the Department of Environment and Science (for the environmental authority). In the past, they have always followed the recommendation of the Land Court when it recommended approval.
While minister Lynham has delayed his decision the Environment Department is bound by legislation to make a decision by next Wednesday the 14th February!
Will you call the department today to ensure they make the right decision and reject the environmental authority for the mine?
- Call 1300 130 372 and choose option 4 ("licences and permits").
- Ask to speak to the person making the decision on Acland Stage 3 Expansion
- Ask for you name and contact details to be recorded and that you urge the department to follow the land court recommendation to reject the mine.
- Tell them ignoring the Land Court decision would completely undermine the rule of law in Queensland and make a laughing stock of the Land Court.
- Leave a comment below to tell us how it went
The legal case against the Acland Stage 3 coal mine was one of the largest environmental cases in Australian history.
This is the first time that this Court has ever recommended outright rejection of a mining project after a contested hearing. In contrast, it has recommended approval of mining projects over 290 times in the last 10 years.
A summary of the direct findings of the Land Court can be found here. The key facts established by the Court are:
- Extraordinarily significant agricultural land: The proposed mine is located on land that is among the best 1.5% of agricultural land in Queensland.
- Groundwater threats too severe: The full impacts of groundwater drawdown are uncertain, but it has the potential to adversely affect surrounding farmers for hundreds of years to come.
- Destruction of the town of Acland: The existing mine has greatly impacted local residents from noise and dust, and has caused the town of Acland to functionally no longer exist. Read more about Acland's history here.
- Job estimates inflated: New Acland significantly over-estimated the job impacts and the net jobs created is estimated at only 680, rather than the 3550 stated in the EIS.
- Very limited royalties: More than 93% of royalties – equivalent to an estimated $436M - will be foregone by the Queensland Government, because the mine is situated on old land titles.