Mining conflicts are likely to escalate in Queensland if State and Federal Governments push ahead with plans to remove the rights and protections of communities, water resources, bushland and farmland under the guide of "cutting green and red tape."
Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, warns that there are processes underway to hasten coal and gas developments, and promised protections are being wound back by the Newman and Abbott governments.
The most worrying of these moves has come from the Queensland Government which has foreshadowed changes to the Mineral Resources Act to prevent anyone but affected landholders from objecting to Mining Lease applications.
"At present this would apply to small mines but there is nothing more certain than if the Newman government gets away with this, it will apply these provisions to all mines, ensuring only affected landowners and not the community in general can object," Mr Hutton said.
“What we’re seeing is an unseemly haste to push the community out of the way and give coal companies free rein to ride over local people and the things they value, like clean air, productive farmland and the bush.
This is not the only move from State and Federal governments that is concerning Lock the Gate.
Firstly, an estimated 65 new coal mines and gas projects are seeking approval from the Queensland Government, 30 of which should require additional assessment under the new federal water trigger.
Secondly, plans are in development for the Darling Downs and Central Queensland in an effort to “streamline” resource developments.
Thirdly, the Strategic Cropping Land Act, which was supposed to protect cropping land from coal development is under review just 18 months after it came into force.
Finally, the Federal Government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Queensland to hand Federal approval powers to the state.
"Freezing the community out of all decision making on high-impact developments like mining will simply increase the popular resistance to them.”
Contact: Drew Hutton 0428 487 110