May 30, 2018
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has welcomed the issuing of final orders by the Supreme Court on Monday in regards to the proposed Stage 3 coal mine expansion at Acland.
New Acland Coal successfully sought a judicial review to set aside a May 2017 recommendation by the Land Court.
On Monday, Justice Bowskill ordered that:
- The Land Court’s recommendations on May 31, 2017, to reject the applications for mining leases and refuse the application for amendment of the environmental authority be set aside with effect from May 31, 2017;
- The decision made by the delegate of the chief executive of the Department of Environment and Science on February 14, 2018, to refuse the application for an amendment of the environmental authority be set aside with effect from February 14, 2018;
- The matters be referred back to the Land Court for further consideration by a different Member;
- The new Land Court Member exclude the issues of groundwater and intergenerational equity (as it relates to groundwater) from the further consideration, on the basis that they are not within the Land Court’s jurisdiction; and
- The findings and conclusions originally made by the Land Court (on May 31, 2017) on all issues except for noise, groundwater and intergenerational equity (as it relates to groundwater) remain the factual findings originally made by the Land Court with respect to noise remain, but not the ultimate conclusions, including conditions.
“The LNP welcomes the decision by the Supreme Court on the New Acland project,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Hundreds of jobs and communities depend upon the continuation of New Hope’s operation.
“(The) final orders underline that the Palaszczuk Government should have respected the current legal process and not refused the application to amend the environmental authority for the New Acland Stage 3 project.
“Labor’s contempt for the legal process has caused massive investment uncertainty in Queensland.
“It sent shockwaves through the State’s resources sector and showed that, under Labor, Queensland is not a place that is open for business.
“The matter will now be reconsidered by the Land Court and the LNP respects this process.”
A spokesperson for New Hope said the company was extremely pleased with the Orders, which provided the opportunity to secure approval for the project and, in doing so, provide ongoing employment for the about 700 jobs reliant on it.
New Hope will now be seeking to have the remitted hearing commence in the Land Court as soon as possible.
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