Determined Oakey farmers battling the New Acland thermal coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs have sought special leave to apply to the High Court.
The move comes after farmers resolved to continue the fight following a disappointing Queensland Court of Appeal decision last month.
Darling Downs dairy farmer David Vonhoff said farmers battling severe drought and the threat of searing bushfires could not afford to lose their precious groundwater to mining.
“We’re really in a dire situation here with this drought, while farmers just east of here have been battling extreme bushfires the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” he said.
“We just can’t afford to lose our groundwater to the Acland Stage 3 coal mine - we need water to produce food and we need water to fight fires, we can’t waste it on a coal mine.
“Our agricultural soils are among the top 1.5 percent in the state and we need to protect them from mining.
“It’s been incredibly difficult for us fighting this mine for over a decade, it’s a real David and Goliath battle, but our future is at stake.”
Oakey Coal Action Alliance secretary Paul King said the farming and residents group had made the decision to take the challenge to the High Court, because of the severe risks posed by the Acland Stage 3 project.
“We believe it is really crucial that these important matters are tested in court, because once groundwater is lost it’s most likely lost forever,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve sought special leave to appeal to the High Court.
“We hope that we will have an opportunity to have these important legal issues considered in the highest court in the country.”
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