A coal truck at New Hope Group's Acland coal mine. Photo Jim Campbell / Chinchilla News
A coal truck at New Hope Group's Acland coal mine. Photo Jim Campbell / Chinchilla News Jim Campbell

Lock the Gate slams govt’s broken promise on Acland mine

ACLAND state three mine expansion opponents have lambasted the State Government's decision to approve an Environmental Approval while political donations from the company are subject to a probe.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the EA step should have been delayed until after the Crime and Corruption Commission completed its investigation into political donations.

Mr Hutton said that had been an election promise from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk which had been effectively broken by the EA announcement yesterday morning.

Lock the Gate lodged an expansive complaint with the CCC concerning political donations of almost $1m to the Liberal National Party by Acland proponent New Hope Corporation, and its parent company, Washington H Soul Pattinson.

Mr Hutton described the EA as a "very sad day" for Oakey and Acland residents.

"The locals have no choice now but prepare to continue to fight in other ways with the help of the many groups that have supported them over the years," he said.

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"It's incredibly disappointing that a government that promised to issue in a new era of accountability and transparency in Queensland has yet again chosen to rush through an outcome to suit the interests of big mining and shafted local communities and the environment."

Concerns from residents centre around groundwater issues and the impact any mine expansion will have on the vital resource for farmers in the region.

They also centre on the impact on strategic cropping land, and the health impacts on nearby residents.

Mr Hutton said the Palaszczuk had promised to "scrutinise the approval process for the mine and the impacts of the mne on the local communities", as well as a full CCC inquiry into political donations.

"This was a chance for the Palaszczuk Government to show that it had enough courage to at least conduct thorough investigations and inquiries before capitulating to mining interests," Mr Hutton said.

"Instead, they've rushed through a bad decision by approving this Environmental Authority, and the locals must now go through all the stress and financial pressure of bringing a challenge in the Land Court to try to overturn the Government's decision."

Queensland Conservation Council coordinator Nichola Hungerford accused the State Government of relying too heavily on the mining sector.

"The Queensland Government continues to put its eggs into the coal basket that will only provide short-term jobs, while prime agricultural land as well as the long-term future of Queensland loses out," Mc Hungerford said.

"It's all Queenslanders that lose out if this mine goes ahead."


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