The local community on the Darling Downs of Queensland had been left with no other option but to pursue a legal challenge against the Acland Stage 3 coal expansion because the ALP Government failed to deliver on its election promises, Lock the Gate Alliance said today.
A local community group, Oakey Coal Action Alliance, last week launched legal action against New Hope Coal in the Queensland Land Court over the proposed Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion.
Lock the Gate’s president, Drew Hutton said the mine had been mired in a political donations scandal after it was revealed that the mine owner and associated companies granted $950,000 to the Liberal Party over the last four years.
Before the 2015 election, the Queensland ALP promised to review the approvals process for Acland Stage 3 and to conduct a Crime and Corruption Commission inquiry into links between political donations and approvals.
They also promised to ‘repeal the Newman Government water laws’ which give mining companies a statutory right to take unlimited volumes of groundwater without a licence.
“The Queensland ALP Government issued an environmental authority for the Acland Stage 3 expansion without delivering on their election promises to review the approvals process or hold an inquiry into political donations,” Mr Hutton said.
“The ALP is also now reneging on its promise to repeal the LNP Government water laws and will instead grant New Hope Coal the rights to take an unlimited volume of water during mining operations.
“The Queensland ALP is the second successive government to promise the local community the world in opposition then betray them in government.
“The Newman Government also back-flipped spectacularly on the Acland Stage 3 project, promising to oppose it in Opposition only to wave it through when it was in power.
“It’s little wonder that Queenslanders have lost all faith in the political process, and sadly, the only thing left now for the local community is to put their case before the independent Land Court.
“This mine expansion will drain groundwater, destroy farmland and put families and communities at risk from dangerous coal dust.
“It will also be the final nail in the coffin for the small township of Acland which has been all but destroyed by the mining company, because it will mean two precious local heritage sites – the Acland War Memorial and Tom Doherty Park – will be sold off to New Hope Coal.
“Australian’s who want to support this courageous small community up against the combined might of the Queensland mining industry and their backers in the State Government, can donate to support the campaign via our new fighting fund at www.lockthegate.org.au/acland_donate.”