New Hope Coal’s shrill demands that the Palaszczuk Government ignore an ongoing legal challenge to its New Acland expansion is an insult to the farmers who are desperately trying to protect some of the most productive agricultural land in the state, according to the Oakey Coal Action Alliance.
OCAA is fighting to prevent the destructive New Acland Stage 3 from going ahead, and a decision on its application for the matter to be heard in the High Court is expected late next month.
Alliance secretary Paul King welcomed the decision by the Palaszczuk Government to continue respecting the legal process, despite New Hope’s attempts to use the Covid-19 crisis to pressure the government via the media today.
He said jobs would be lost if New Acland Stage 3 was approved.
“Businesses in Oakey and surrounds rely on these farms to keep going - if the farms go, so will the local economy,” Mr King said.
“We have taken this matter to the High Court in part because this coal mine expansion will kill farming jobs and threaten food production, including 10 million litres of milk, at a time when it is needed more than ever.
"If the High Court finds in OCAA’s favour, the Stage 3 application may be referred back for a rehearing. By law the minister cannot approve a mining lease without a recommendation from the Land Court.
“The farming land around Oakey is classed in the top 1.5 per cent in Queensland. It is madness that it should be destroyed for the sake of a temporary coal mine.
"This project should never be approved. It will lower the water table for 300 years. The Darling Downs produces some of the best food in the world. Food and fibre is our future here.”
“New Hope has to play by the rules. New Hope appealed the original Land Court decision. It is up to the High Court now, so it is totally unfair for New Hope to call for approvals from the government. It would be irresponsible and wrong to pre-empt the court."