September 10, 2019
The issue of groundwater and the proposed New Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion are back to square one following the release on Tuesday of a judgment by the Queensland Court of Appeal.
The judgment, ruling against an appeal by the anti-mine Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA), is the latest in a string of complicated court proceedings linked to the New Acland mine that date back to 2016.
Matters canvassed in the latest judgment include the apprehension of bias in the original Land Court decision and jurisdictional issues linked to groundwater.
All applications by the OCCA have now been referred back to the Land Court to be reheard.
OCCA was ordered to pay New Acland Coal’s appeal costs.
A statement by New Hope – the parent company of New Acland Coal – released after the judgment said the company was pleased with the outcome.
“(The company) will wait for the Court to make its final orders before assessing the next steps for the New Acland Stage 3 project,” the statement said.
“New Hope remains committed to delivering the New Acland Stage 3 project in a timely manner to ensure continuity of operations and ongoing employment in the region.”
OCCA secretary Paul King said the case would now have to be reheard in its entirety.
“This is a very difficult outcome for local farmers who have lived with this threat for 10 long years and now face more uncertainty,” he said.
“The farming land around Oakey is classed in the top 1.5 per cent in Queensland. It is madness that it should be destroyed for the sake of a temporary coal mine.”
Earlier on Tuesday, New Hope Corporation requested a trading halt on the ASX until Thursday morning.