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New Hope Ad Campaign Referred to ACCC

Two community groups, Lock the Gate Alliance and Oakey Coal Action Alliance, have lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to an advertisement supporting the Acland Stage 3 coal mine on the Darling Downs.

The Queensland Land Court recently made a recommendation that the Acland Stage 3 coal project should be rejected by the Queensland Government because its impacts on groundwater and the local community were too great.

The advertisement depicts the logo of the New Hope group, which is the parent company of the company that runs the Acland mine, as well as logos of a number of other companies.

Lock the Gate and Oakey Coal Action Alliance allege that the advertisements breach Australian Consumer Laws because they contain statements that are misleading and deceptive in relation to the Acland Stage 3 project.

Paul King from Oakey Coal Action Alliance said “The claims contained in these advertisements about thousands of jobs being affected if the Acland Stage 3 coal project is refused, are simply false.

“The Land Court tested all the evidence and heard from several experts, and concluded that the total direct and indirect jobs created by the Acland Stage 3 project was just 680.

“Indeed, the expert for New Acland Coal himself stated during the Land Court case in relation to jobs that ‘The numbers are very small’.

“We’ve referred the advertising campaign to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission because we believe it is misleading and deceptive under Australian Consumer Law, and we’re calling for urgent action from them to investigate” he said.

Carmel Flint from Lock the Gate Alliance said “This ad campaign by New Hope is a typical cashed-up bullying tactic that is reminiscent of the 2011 resource tax scare campaign against Kevin Rudd.

“It appears designed to divide a community that has already been hurt and fractured by New Hope’s mine.

“The local community has used the justice system, at great personal expense, to expose the true impact of the mine of their businesses, land, water and health.

“But now New Hope are trying to obliterate the facts in the case, and use their big money and muscle to try to get a government decision which runs counter to the Land Court recommendation.

“The Queensland Government needs to end the uncertainty and personal hardship for the farmers and families involved, and make a quick decision based on the findings of the Land Court to reject the mine, not cave in to the New Hope Goliath trying to monster the local community” she said.

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