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Land Court’s approval of New Acland Stage 3 must be respected

AREEA has called upon all parties and stakeholders to respect the decision of Queensland’s Land Court to recommend mining leases be granted to New Hope Group for Stage 3 of its New Acland Coal mine.

On 17 December 2021, the Land Court of Queensland handed down the final word in what has been an extraordinarily protracted legal battle between New Hope and environmental activists over the future of the New Acland project.

The Land Court found New Hope had spent “significant time and money” on a “sophisticated” Trigger Action Response Plan to manage and limit any environmental impacts.

It found that conditions placed on the project’s Environmental Authority would “effectively deal with the potential impacts of noise and dust”, which was the biggest issue with New Acland’s past performance.

Aside from those matters, “no good reason” had been shown for refusing the grant, the Court found.

“The Land Court’s decision is a common-sense outcome that has balanced the concerns of some community members with the comprehensive environmental management plans put forward by New Hope Group,” Tom Reid, AREEA Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said.

“The onus is now firmly on the Queensland Government to be true to its word and grant the mining leases that will allow New Acland Stage 3 to move forward.

“New Hope Group commenced this process over 13 years ago. Throughout this time the Queensland Government has consistently said it would respect and follow the decisions and guidance of the courts.

“Now it must put those words into effect. The delays and uncertainty with this important Queensland mining project have gone on far too long.

“Over 280 jobs have been lost at New Acland and in November the mine was placed into care and maintenance with its future looking bleak.

“The Land Court’s backing has breathed some optimism into a project that has been a key economic and employment contributor in the region’s economy since 2002.

“With Stage 3 offering nearly 500 regional jobs and a $7 billion injection into the state economy, it’s time for the Queensland Government to show it will put aside green politics and make the right call for the state’s interests.”

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