The Lock the Gate Alliance says it has obtained legal advice confirming the Palaszczuk government can reject the expansion of the New Acland coal mine and rectify tarnished decision-making and murky approvals for donations scandal that plagued saw the controversial approved by the Newman Government.
The decision on whether or not to allow the Stage 3 expansion to go ahead is likely to be made in the next two weeks.
Lock the Gate president, Drew Hutton, said the mine is a test of the new Government’s commitment to accountability and clean politics, and an opportunity to signal a new direction for Queensland where governments keep their promises, and strategic cropping land is safe from open cut mining.
"This is a large coal mine on the fertile eastern Darling Downs, on strategic cropping land, in a closely settled area and will heavily impact on surface and underground water,” Mr Hutton said.
“The previous Government broke its promise to protect farmland from coal mining and stop the Acland expansion and prior to the election after hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations were made by the proponent. The Labor Party said it would look into whether it could undo the Newman Government’s betrayal and stop the mine. Our advice is that they can, and that’s what they need to do.
Lock the Gate has shown the Government advice that the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) is not bound by the Coordinator General's report on Acland Stage 3 and has the legal authority to refuse or fail to approval the amended environmental authority (EA) under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
"This mine should never have been approved, and it is a relief for the farming communities around Acland and Oakey to know that the new Government has the power to stop it and protect our precious farmland. We’re calling on Premier Palaszczuk, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham and Environment Minister Miles to keep faith with the people of Queensland, who elected them to clean up this state, by stopping the mine.”