The passing of a new bill designed to streamline the approval process for new resources projects in Queensland has been welcomed by the state’s Resources Council while attracting howls of protest from farming and environmental activist groups.
The Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill was passed by the Queensland Parliament on Tuesday night.
Nicki Laws from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance on the Darling Downs told the ABC that the new legislation was firmly in favour of big miners.
“This bill we believe was written with the resource industry in mind, with little respect for farmers, for food producing land, for the environment of Queensland. This is basically a red carpet for the mining industry.”
However Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Michael Roche disagrees with Ms Laws saying the new legislation removed “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,”Mr Roche said.
“Communities and landholders remain important stakeholders and still retain a genuine opportunity to raise concerns over a mining project’s environmental impacts.
“The amendments reduce unnecessary duplication in Queensland’s approvals processes,” Mr Roche said.
The Bill introduced a number of reforms including:
- implementing the 2012 findings of the Land Access Implementation Committee—on which peak agricultural groups worked closely with peak resource industry bodies under an independent Chair.
- a new process for ensuring that the maximum resource extraction occurs when coal and coal seam gas tenures overlap.
- providing new powers to ensure legacy boreholes can be swiftly made safe; and
- a simple and consistent system of restricted land for all resource tenures.