Landholders and communities will regain their right to object to mining developments under legislation introduced to Parliament this week.
State Development Minister Dr 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.
“We have listened to community concerns that their laws restricted landholder and community rights and our proposed changes seek to rectify this as soon as possible,” he said.
“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.”
The Bill repeals section 47D of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 Act, which prevented people objecting to the Land Court granting an environmental authority for a proposed mining activity if the Coordinator-General had previously assessed the activity.
Dr Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government recognised the need to balance 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.
“The LNP deserted rural landholders. Under Labor’s previous laws, food and animal exports grew 36 per cent over nine years while the resources industry saw record growth, proving these industries can grow sustainably with landholder rights still being protected.
“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.”
Lock the Gate Alliance congratulated the Queensland Government on their move, which will enable landholders and community groups who are opposed to the Acland Stage 3 coal mine to have their objections considered by the court.
The urgency motion to bring on the Bill was successful, with 46 votes in favour, and the Bill will be debated in the State Parliament this week.
“This is a really important day for Queensland, and a particularly important day for the people of the Darling Downs who may yet have the chance to tell the court about the impacts the Acland Stage 3 coal project will have on their water resources, agricultural businesses and health,” said spokesperson Drew Hutton said.
“The government’s action tonight honours a significant election promise to restore objection rights and it’s wonderful to see politicians sticking to their word.
“We also greatly appreciate the stance taken by the Katter Party in supporting the urgency motion and for Peter Wellington’s encouraging words outside Parliament.
“We are, however, incredibly disappointed that the LNP voted against the motion and continues to oppose the basic right of landholders to object to mining projects.
“It seems extraordinary that the LNP has learnt absolutely nothing from the election and is still intent on kowtowing to mining giants at the expense of farming communities. It is a betrayal that many farming communities will never forget, or forgive.”
In order to fully restore community objection rights that were removed by the LNP, a number of other amendments will be required to also ensure rights to object to other mining projects that are not designated as ‘coordinated projects’.