The Queensland Government has invoked special powers to progress the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal and rail project.
The combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure – the first time this has happened in seven years.
As well, the project’s special “prescribed project” status has been renewed and expanded to include its water infrastructure.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said his decision would mean less red tape for the proposed project and the jobs and business opportunities it offered.
“This step bundles together major elements of the project for the first time – the mine, the 389-kilometre rail line, and the water infrastructure, including a pipeline, pumping stations and a dam upgrade,” he said.
“It makes it more efficient to establish easements for infrastructure like the water pipeline and the rail, and expands the Coordinator-General’s power to ensure timely approvals.”
Dr Lynham said the declaration was based on advice from the independent Coordinator-General, who continued to meet regularly with Adani to progress the project.
“When this government came to power in early 2015, it is fair to say that there was a long way to go with the approvals that Adani needed before they could start construction,” he said.
“Since then, 22 key Commonwealth, State and local government approvals have been granted for Adani’s mine, rail and port facilities and there have been 29 key milestones reached.
“Adani has now obtained all the necessary primary approvals for its mine, rail and port project— and most importantly, I have granted the mining leases.”
At a state level, the only key approvals remaining are water licenses.
“I know that regional communities particularly will welcome the advice from Adani that construction of the project is set to begin in 2017,” Mr Lynham said.
He added that the progress on the project had been achieved while protecting the Great Barrier Reef and meeting Queensland and Commonwealth environmental impact assessment requirements.