A proposal by the Queensland Government threatens community rights to object to mining leases and risks vast swathes of land and water, says the Lock the Gate Alliance.
Under the proposal, objection rights to mining leases would be limited to landholders directly affected by a mining lease. Others affected by impacts of coal and gas mining — for example on groundwater resources, on local businesses and the economy — would be denied the opportunity to object.
Public submissions on the government’s Mining Lease Notification & Objection initiative discussion paper available here close at 5pm tomorrow (March 28).
“This is another example of a government hell bent on putting the interests of big miners ahead of those of the community,” said Drew Hutton, Lock the Gate’s National President.
“Under this proposal, individual landowners would be isolated from their communities and pitted against the overwhelming wealth and power of multinational mining companies. It’s a case of government in the pocket of industry looking to divide and conquer.
“Millions of hectares of the state are slated for open cut coalmines and industrial gas fields. Communities need reforms that enable them to better protect themselves from the damaging impacts of coal and gas, not the erosion of community rights that this draconian proposal represents.
“The long-term impacts of mining extend well beyond the boundaries of the mining lease. To take one example, independent research shows that the nine mega coalmines planned for the Galilee Basin put the Great Artesian Basin recharge zone at risk, and threaten the groundwater dependent communities of Alpha, Jericho and the grazing properties surrounding the proposed mine leases.
“The Queensland Government must abandon its plans to undermine the community’s democratic right to participate in decision making on projects that put at risk our land and water, and affect us all.”
Bruce Currie, a beef producer at Jericho in Central Queensland, said farmers deemed to be indirectly affected would be prevented from objecting if the changes went through.
“It looks like the mining companies or the government want to decide who’s affected and who can object rather than communities and neighbours and that’s just not right,” he said.
Submissions can be made to the Modernising Queensland’s Resources Acts mailbox at: firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 71 Mary Street, Brisbane 4001 until 5pm, Friday 28 March 2014.