The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) is calling on the Palaszczuk Government to step in to end the uncertainty for workers at the New Hope coal mine near Oakey by approving the mining lease and associated water licence for the stage 3 expansion.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said that news today that the Oakey Coal Action Alliance will apply through the Environmental Defenders Office for special leave of the High Court to appeal a Queensland Court’s decision that would allow the mine to proceed meant more upheaval for local families.
“The State Government is not powerless here. It could step in at any time to approve the mining lease and associated water licence,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“In September, the Premier said the hold up for a decision was to wait for the finalisation of proceedings in the Court of Appeal.
“The Queensland Court of Appeal has since made its determination which would allow the New Hope expansion to go ahead with the appropriate approvals.
“But the Queensland Government has stalled, leaving 150 workers in the lurch and causing significant economic uncertainty for Oakey and surrounding communities.
“QRC respects the role of courts and understands the responsibility of mining projects to operate within the framework of the comprehensive laws and regulations that govern the sector.
“But the Government has a responsibility to legislate in the best interests of Queensland.
“As QRC pointed out in September, there is a precedent for the Palaszczuk Government to act. In 2007 Anna Bligh’s Government legislated to guarantee operations at Xstrata’s Wollombi project in Central Queensland in response to a court ruling.”
At the time, Anna Bligh said: ‘My government is not prepared to have this uncertainty…Next week we will legislate to validate the mining lease so that the mine can proceed, but only with stringent environmental requirements.’
“Queensland relies on investment in the resources sector to create jobs, especially in regional areas,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Just over one month ago, at the CEDA State of the State speech, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk rightly recognised the importance of supporting jobs and industries in Queensland.”
The Premier said: ‘All of this aligns with my government’s priority to create and sustain jobs. Fighting for Queensland jobs and providing the opportunity of the dignity of work is what drives me every day.’
“The Premier can back those words with action to stand up for Queensland jobs through the green light for the New Hope mine expansion,” Mr Macfarlane said.