Newman flags free rein to the mining industry

Published: February 18, 2012

Cambell Newman's criticisms of the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) have sent a shiver down the spine of every Queensland landowner who would like this department to keep closer control of the mining industry.

Mr Newman is quoted as saying he believes the environmental regulator is full of "green extremists" and needs to learn what its true function is.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said his members found Mr Newman's comments disturbing.

"The Bligh government and the LNP opposition have stated many times that the coal seam gas industry will be kept under control by the number of conditions imposed on their activities and the preparedness of DERM to enforce these," Mr Hutton said.

"Now we are hearing that he intends to split the department into three sections – one for mining, one for resources and one for environmental regulation.

"There can only be one way to understand this. He intends to make two-thirds of the department responsible for mining and resource industry facilitation and only one-third will enforce environmental protection legislation.

"There is already a mining facilitation department – the Mines section of DEEDI – and the only department that can ensure the mining industry adheres to its environmental authorities – DERM – he wants to bring to heel.

"Landowners and environmentalist have great difficulty now getting DERM officers out to investigate complaints about mining. It will be impossible once Campbell Newman starts cutting back on the department's regulatory functions."

"The LNP is looming as an environmental nightmare for the people of Queensland and the facilitator of the most destructive practices by the mining and coal seam gas sectors," Mr Hutton said.

"Unless he changes tack on mining policy the Lock the Gate movement will be forced to campaign against him and the LNP in the election campaign."

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