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Business as usual on coal and gas leaves Queensland communities vulnerable

A new draft 30-year-plan for mining in Queensland will leave communities vulnerable to changing global markets for fossil fuels and at risk of rapid economic shocks because it fails to prepare for overseas customers shifting energy sources.

The government yesterday released its “Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan”, which drew heavily on the International Energy Agency statements on the need for new minerals but which ignored the same agency’s statements about needing to prevent any new fossil fuel projects.

Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said, “Regional communities will suffer if they are not given support to prepare for changes in coal and gas markets.

“The proposed plan will leave regional Queenslanders at the whim of fickle global markets and at risk of major busts as the cyclical decline of fossil fuels accelerates.

“It does not help Central Queensland coal communities to mine new minerals hundreds of kilometres in the north west. 

“What is needed is a plan to protect and enhance sustainable industries such as tourism and agriculture, while diversifying regions’ industrial bases and providing training and new employment opportunities in coal communities that are going to be affected.

“This type of planning is already occurring in the Hunter Valley in NSW, where the NSW Government has recently introduced “Royalties for Rejuvenation”, but unfortunately by blindly sticking with fossil fuels, the Palaszczuk Government is putting Queensland workers and communities at risk. It’s also putting our state at a disadvantage compared to our southern neighbours.

“This business as usual approach also risks permanently sacrificing more prime farmland, special natural areas, and cultural heritage sites for fossil fuel projects that only last a few years.

“This plan should be an opportunity to meaningfully address land use conflict and put important areas off limits to damaging projects, but that chance has been completely missed with this draft.

“However, we are happy to see the plan does contemplate finally holding coal and gas companies more accountable for their domestic carbon emissions, which has been a major flaw in Queensland mining regulations to date.”

The QRIDP also indicates the government will overhaul the legal system that has led to mining companies like New Acland dragging communities through the court for almost a decade.

“While we welcome independent review of how the courts handle conflicts between communities and mining projects, we fear the government will invariably change the law to make it harder for ordinary Queenslanders to object,” Ms Smith said.

"Any changes must preserve communities' hard won legal rights to merits review of mining approvals.”


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