The Land Court decision on New Acland’s Stage 3 coal expansion acknowledges the severe impacts noise and dust from the existing mine have had on nearby farmers and other residents.
Darling Downs farmers are now preparing for a bigger battle over the groundwater impacts of the project which were not able to be considered in the case.
In light of the ruling, the farmers have vowed to continue their fight against the expansion, and are calling on the Palaszczuk Government not to grant any additional approvals to the mining company.
In its ruling, the Land Court today acknowledged the negative impacts the existing mine has had on surrounding landholders through noise and dust, and recommended changes to conditions for Stage 3.
In its ruling, the Court stated, “I accept that there have been unreasonable noise impacts in the past and that there have been dust events that may have been concerning to the neighbours.”
Importantly, the Land Court decision this morning was extremely limited because grounds for the case had been narrowed so much by law changes that it was unable to consider the groundwater impacts of the project.
The Acland Stage 3 project was originally refused on groundwater grounds in the 2017 Land Court hearing. However, a law change by a Palaszczuk Government meant that impacts on groundwater could not be considered during this hearing.
The coal expansion still requires the grant of an Associated Water Licence for groundwater take and the provision of a mining lease.
OCAA secretary Paul King said that the Land Court judgement confirmed that New Hope coal had caused major impacts to neighbouring residents from noise and dust over many years.
He urged the Queensland government to reject the company’s groundwater licence, based on the severe impacts it would have on farm bores and the environment.
“The Land Court judgement today confirmed that the local community has been put through hell by New Hope coal through excessive noise and dust from the mine ruining their lives," he said.
“This should be enough for the Queensland Government to call it a day, and prevent this dangerous, unwanted project from re-opening.
“It’s also vital that Water Minister Glenn Butcher now makes the right call and rejects New Acland’s application for a groundwater licence for the mine expansion.”
Local grazier Frank Ashman said, “The use of 3.5 million litres of water each day for the expansion will result in a 47 metre water drawdown impacting over at least 1200 square kilometres of prime agricultural land.
“We don’t want to see this damaging mine reopened. This area is amongst the best 1.5% of farmland in the state and it produces milk and beef to feed Australia. If you planted a nail here, you’d grow a crowbar.
“We’re urging the Qld Government not to reopen this wound and damage our community even more, but instead to reject the groundwater licence and the mining lease, and let us move on with our lives.”