QLD gov may reinstitute mining protest ban

The Queensland Government may reinstitute some restrictions on opposition to mining projects after overturning a bill outright banning certain anti-mining protests.

Earlier this month Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government removed the former Newman Government’s bill preventing certain objections against mining proposals.

Late last year Queensland passed its new controversial Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill.

The bill was noted for its ability to restrict who could oppose mining applications on what was termed ‘philosophical’ grounds.

Previously any person or group could object to applications, whether they were 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”.

Current minister for natural resources and mines, Anthony Lynham, said the “State Development and Public Works Organisation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 would meet an election commitment to restore objection rights stripped away by the previous LNP government”.

“This Bill is the first step towards delivering on our election commitment to restore community objection rights removed by the LNP’s Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014.

“Most importantly we have stepped in to restore these rights before the LNP’s laws have had any practical effect. No project has proceeded under the LNP’s laws.”

Lynham went on to state the focus was on restoring the balance between economic development and the rights of landholders and local communities.

Now the QLD Government is reducing the scope for opposition to mining projects and development.

Lynham has now stated he will look to implement time limits on cases in the Land Court, according to the Courier Mail.

He voiced concern that major projects, and investment, in the industry could be negatively affected if there were no limits in place.

“Everyone deserves the right to have their objections heard,” Lynham said.

“But I do have concerns, which is why I want to address them with the Attorney-General [Yvette D’Ath].”

He went on to state there was the real issue of sovereign risk arising, which could dissuade further investment into the state due to over-regulation fears.

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