Acland resolution delayed in High Court despite Government’s assurances

New Hope had another day in court yesterday without any resolution on its proposed $900 million Acland coal mine expansion.

Oct 07, 2020, updated Oct 07, 2020
Bowen Coking Coal has raised the funds for the restart of the Bluff mine

Bowen Coking Coal has raised the funds for the restart of the Bluff mine

New Hope said the High Court heard an appeal from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance in relation to the Queensland Court of Appeal’s decision in 2019.

It was the latest in years of legal cases and political delays for the development which has been in the approval process for more than 11 years.

Proposals to expand the controversial mine were first rejected by the Newman LNP government in 2012 and the revised application was then again rejected by the Palaszczuk ALP Government in 2018 following a recommendation of refusal by the Land Court in 2017.

On three occasions last week the Government said a resolution to the saga would be known by this week when the High Court made its decision.

New Hope Group chief operating officer Andrew Boyd said although the appeal had been heard, a decision had been reserved.

“The High Court may take some time to hand down a decision on the appeal,” Mr Boyd said.

“Last week the Premier stated that the outcome of the High Court appeal would be known this week.

“That would be a great outcome but it is unlikely.”

Boyd said regardless of the High Court decision, the Premier had proven the approvals process was not tied to court proceedings.

“By approving Olive Downs last week, the Premier has demonstrated the Government’s willingness to grant approvals for resource projects in circumstances where court proceedings exist,” Mr Boyd said.

“The Olive Downs project is subject to a judicial review in the Supreme Court and yet the Premier proclaimed it good to go.

“This is great news for Olive Downs and also means the Minister is able to make a decision on New Acland Stage 3.

Premier Palaszczuk has insisted only part of the Olive Downs project was under judicial review.

In yesterday’s hearing, the Environmental Defenders Office argued that it was in the interests of justice that there was a completely fresh Land Court hearing, unconstrained by previous decisions.

New Acland Stage 3 would create 487 new jobs within 18 months of approvals and will provide more than $7 billion in economic benefit to the state.

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