QLD to overturn mining protest ban

Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government is seeking to remove 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”.

"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.

It was slammed at the time by environmental and conservationist groups, with the Lock the Gate Alliance, describing the new Bill 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 Bill will take away people’s rights to object to mining projects in 90 per cent of cases,” he said.

“Even if the proposed mine is next door and you’re going to be adversely effected by noise, dust and health impacts, the new law will mean you can’t object.

“If your water downstream from the mine is likely to be contaminated, you will have no right to object because the mine is not on your property.”

QRC head Michael Roche dismissed these statements at the time, saying this “important legislation again demonstrates that the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps remains focused on enabling regional growth and development by streamlining unnecessary regulation”.

“This Bill streamlines the objections process for the grant of a mining tenure but does not limit or remove a right to object to the mining project, rather, objections are considered as part of the project’s environmental authority,” Roche said.

Now the current Queensland Government is looking to roll back this Bill.

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.

“Those rights were in place under previous Labor Governments and the LNP stripped them away,” he said.

“In Opposition, Labor opposed these rights being stripped away because they balanced the rights of would-be miners, landholders and the community.

“Our legislation will help to set the scene for a productive relationship with resource companies by helping to lessen anxiety towards resource development among landholders and agricultural stakeholders.”

 

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