Conservation groups slams QLD mining approvals objection bill

Environmental and conservationist groups are up in arms over Queensland’s proposal to restrict opposition to new mining approvals.

Last week the state announced it was considering restricting who can object to mining applications to halt ‘philosophical opposition’ to projects.

As it stands any person or group can object to applications, whether they are directly affected by the operation or not, forcing the matter into the Land Court.

At the time QLD deputy premier Jeff Seeney said "it's obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry – for whatever reason – to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects”.

"The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that."

QLD mines minister Andrew Cripps added that “extreme greens” from interstate and overseas were fighting many of these approvals.

It has previously been revealed that Greenpeace had developed a plan to fund “scandal research” to help shut down coal mining.

"These individuals or groups have little or no interest in our state and submit vexatious objections to tie up economically beneficial projects," Cripps said.

Cripps said the reforms, in the Mining Lease Notification & Objection Initiative discussion, could supercharge the economy.

“Currently the notification and objection process for a proposed mining project is duplicated and does not take into account the size and impact of the mining operation,” he said.

“The former Labor Government increased the burden on business and the community, but we will provide greater certainty by delivering a more streamlined and efficient process.

“The proposed reforms will allow us to hear from those who are directly impacted by the development rather than extreme green groups in Melbourne or California whose life goal is to create a road block for economic development.”

The Lock the Gate Alliance has already described the announcement as “despicable”.

"Once again the LNP government is trying to curb the democratic rights of Queenslanders," Lock the Gate Alliance’s president Drew Hutton said.

"The Newman government and his bully-boy Jeff Seeney are trying to stop ordinary people and communities from protecting themselves against multimillionaires in the mining industries that are trying to make a quick buck and move on.

"It's ludicrous to suggest only landholders should have a stake in whether a mine that effects so many people should go ahead. The impacts on land, air, water and greenhouse gases go much further than the immediate landholders." 

The Capricorn Conservation Council’s Michael McCabe said that under the discussion’s auspices reasonable objections could be ignored, according to the ABC.

"People running nature refuges and national parks cannot object to a mine 20 kilometres away because they're not directly affected," he said.

The paper is currently open for submissions.




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