Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio has urged Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles to prevent any further delays on a decision about the expansion of the New Acland coal mine west of Toowoomba.
A new underground water bill, currently before the State Parliament, could mean delays of up to 12 months for the project.
Mayor Antonio said this would threaten jobs and Toowoomba’s regional economy.
“I have written to the Minister today and outlined that while Council understands and respects the process underway, application of this legislation will result in further delays in the approvals process, despite New Hope having already met relevant requirements as they currently stand,” Mayor Antonio said.
The New Acland Mine is a major employer in the Toowoomba region.
The mine currently employs 275 staff, and there are 500 contractor jobs that rely on operations at the site.
“Further delays will threaten jobs and any down-turn in operations at New Acland will have a detrimental effect on our local economy, particularly the community of Oakey, which relies heavily on the economic activity generated at the mine,” the Mayor said.
“Therefore, my Council colleagues requested that I respectfully ask the Minister to consider an exemption for New Acland Stage 3 and, in doing so, seek his support for local workers and the broader economy of the Toowoomba region.”
The new underground water bill is due to be debated in the Queensland Parliament in the coming weeks.