Lock the Gate’s Drew Hutton has questioned why the Premier waited until today to announce an inquiry into political donations in Queensland, including donations associated with the Acland coal mine, after her Government provided final approval for the mine expansion only last Friday.
"This is an inquiry we've been demanding for a very long time, but after the final approval of the Acland coal expansion on Friday, it's 'too little, too late' for the long-suffering people of the Darling Downs,” Mr Hutton said.
“The Palaszczuk Government should have called for this inquiry as soon as it was elected and certainly before it moved to approve an Environmental Authority for the Acland Stage 3 coal project.
"Even if this inquiry did uncover problems with the Acland project approval process, there is a real question mark now as to whether anything could be done about it, given Friday’s approval.
"A second question mark hanging over the inquiry relates to who would conduct it. It's clear that the Crime and Corruption Commission is the only authority with the type of far-reaching investigative powers that are needed, and anything less will fall short of what is required.
“The local community around Acland has been shell-shocked by the Stage 3 approval, leaving them with no choice but to engage in stressful and expensive Land Court proceedings if they want to see this dreadful mine expansion stopped.
“It's incredibly disappointing that a government that promised to issue in a new era of accountability and transparency in Queensland has yet again chosen to rush through an outcome that suits the interests of big mining and betrays regional communities.
"Minister Lynham has been talking up the value of coal but nobody in the State Government seems interested in the value of agriculture and our natural assets.
"It's time to put some limits on mining and stop the special deal which sees miners getting 100 per cent approval for their damaging coal projects.”