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ALP Pre-election Promises at Risk as Community Locked Out from Land Court

New legal advice obtained by Lock the Gate Alliance indicates that landholders will NOT have the right to go to the Land Court to challenge the Environmental Authority for the Acland Coal Mine expansion, despite election promises to restore legal rights by the incoming Queensland State Government and Premier Palaszczuk.

The final deadline on submissions to the Acland Environmental Authority is next Wednesday, July 1 at which time the door may close forever on landholders and communities who are opposed to the damaging mine expansion which will affect more than 1,300ha of Strategic Cropping Land on the Darling Downs.

Lock the Gate Alliance’s president, Drew Hutton said the new ALP State Government had done nothing to restore community objection rights since the election or to deliver on other promises it made in relation to the Acland Stage 3 Coal expansion.

“The ALP was elected to Government in Queensland promising to restore the rights of communities to object to mining operations, to scrutinise Stage 3 of the Acland Coal Mine and hold a public inquiry into links between political donations and government approvals,” Mr Hutton said.

“To date, none of these promises have been honoured, and instead landholders around Acland are devastated to discover, according to legal advice, that their rights to object to the development have been lost.

“Minister Lynham and his office have repeatedly said over the last two months that the project’s next step would be for interested parties to give evidence in Land Court hearings on the Environmental Authority but our legal advice says that is not possible.

“The community of Acland which has been so heavily impacted by the negative impacts of this mine is left in limbo yet again as the deadline for objections loom.  It looks as if they will not get their day in court.

“The ALP promised to be transparent and accountable but so far they have failed to address the worst failings of their predecessors on Acland - the LNP that was mired in questionable deals and utter secrecy.

"They have not delivered any proper public process to scrutinise the mine and its impact, they have not commenced a public inquiry into the $950,000 in political donations that were associated with it, and now we find that they have not delivered objection rights for affected landholders.

"We're calling on the Premier to step in and urgently re-instate objection rights for the long-suffering people of Acland and Oakey, and to ensure that all of her election promises relating to the expansion are implemented prior to a decision on the mine.

"How the State Government responds on Acland is shaping up as the defining test of whether they can chart a new course that puts basic fairness and rigour back in to the regulation of mining in Queensland," he said.

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