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QLD Government greenwashes Acland coal’s admission of guilt, Minister must now refuse mining lease

Lock the Gate Alliance and the Oakey Coal Action Alliance are outraged after the Queensland Environment Department accepted a greenwashed alternative to prosecuting New Acland over the company's illegal mining on the Darling Downs.

The department first announced it was investigating New Acland over illegally commencing mining on its Stage 3 expansion four years ago.

Yesterday the department revealed it would not prosecute the illegal actions of New Acland but instead accepted a weak, piecemeal undertaking from the company to plant trees on the mined site.

LTGA and OCAA are now calling on Resources Minister Scott Stewart to refuse a mining lease for the project on the grounds that New Acland cannot be trusted to operate within Queensland laws.

Paul King, OCAA Secretary, said, “This response to New Acland's illegal behaviour falls far short of community expectations. Instead of prosecuting New Acland, the department has instead rewarded the mining company for its unlawful activities.

"Mining companies are required by law to rehabilitate land anyway, and so the undertaking is neither a deterrent nor a penalty.

"From the department's press statement it’s clear it has been coordinating with New Acland for a long time while leaving impacted farmers and the Queensland public in the dark.

"This goes to the heart of integrity questions surrounding the role of vested interests in the Queensland Government."

Lock the Gate's Queensland Coordinator Ellie Smith said, “It’s ridiculous that New Acland has already illegally mined the land they are currently seeking approvals from the Minister for.

"This shows how broken Queensland environment laws are.

“In light of this admission of unlawful mining, it is now incumbent on Resources Miniser Scott Stewart to reject New Hope's application to reopen the New Acland coal mine."


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