July 3, 2019
A petition signed by almost 1750 people in support of the Revised Stage 3 expansion at the New Acland coal mine will be presented in State Parliament next month.
The petition was organised by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and the Oakey Chamber of Commerce after mine operators New Hope warned last month that 150 jobs at the mine will be axed if State Government approvals do not come through before September 1.
In its quarterly report, released to the ASX on May 25, New Hope said the project needs to secure mining leases, an associated water licence and a number of secondary approvals before mining can begin.
“Obtaining final approval in a timely manner is critical to ensuring the continuity of operations and therefore employment for approximately 300 employees and 500 contractors currently engaged at the New Acland mine,” the report stated.
The petition was presented to LNP Member for Condamine Pat Weir who will table it in Parliament.
Mr Weir said the State Government’s refusal to give certainty around the approval process was tearing the community apart.
“I wrote directly to Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seeking assurances there would be a resolution before September 1, but there was no commitment or guarantee to save the 150 jobs on the chopping block,” Mr Weir said.
“I’ll again be writing to the Premier and Minister Anthony Lynham to alert them of the community’s petition and the frustration these bureaucratic delays are causing for the whole region.
“The time for talk and deliberations is over. Our community deserves certainty.”
Opposition natural resources spokesman Dale Last said it was time for the “anti-resources, anti-regions and anti-jobs” State Government to get out of the way and approve the project.
“There’s no need for job losses; 150 can be saved as long as this Labor Government signs off on Stage 3 in time,” Mr Last said.
“Queenslanders expect our resource projects to meet high environmental and social standards but they also expect job-creating projects like New Acland Stage 3 to get a fair go.
“To make matters worse, the Palaszczuk Government funds the very group, the Environmental Defenders Office, that continues to derail this project through the legal system.”