News & Blog Posts · Energy & Climate

Rolling court feed: Farmers fight for Acland

17 July, 2017

See the rolling feed from the historic 99-day Queensland Land Court hearing that resulted in the unprecedented recommendation of outright refusal of the New Acland coal mine Stage 3 expansion. Plus all the latest from Court since.

2 May 2018

Qld's Supreme Crt has delivered its judgment in relation to New Acland Stage 3, referring the matter back to the Land Court. EDO Qld will consider the judgment carefully and discuss it with our clients, OCAA. Judgment: https://bit.ly/2I4RWfn

 

14 February 2018

The Department of Environment and Science today made a final decision to refuse the environmental authority amendment application for New Acland Coal's Stage 3 expansion.

This decision is not just a win for Acland farmers, but a win for all farming communities, a win for trust in government and a win for proper legal process in our state.

Read the full statement from our CEO and Solicitor Jo-Anne Bragg


08 January 2018

In late September 2017, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) invited stakeholders in the Land Court hearing to participate in a non-statutory process DEHP created and proposed for it to consider new factual material and written submissions, after the Land Court decision.

DEHP appears to have done so for the purpose of making the final EA decision because it was aware of:

In making its submissions to DEHP, one of NAC’s key arguments was that it had revised the groundwater modelling criticised by the Land Court, and that then new work replaces or supersedes that evidence before the Court. NAC’s submissions to DEHP, including all the new groundwater work, totalled more than 2400 pages.

While OCAA submitted to DEHP that the legality of the additional process (and any DEHP EA decision that relies on new material provided in the process) is questionable, OCAA believes there are additional reasons why the process was inappropriate and why DEHP should not have adopted it. These include:

  • undermining the public statutory process for hearing evidence and objections under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 – primarily, the longest and most thorough Land Court case in history;
  • unfairly affording NAC additional opportunity to again bring new groundwater material, this time at the last minute before DEHP’s decision, when NAC should have to re-apply and go through the statutory process; and
  • the critical absence of any appropriate testing of the new evidence by the Coordinator General, or within the legal safeguards of the Land Court process (e.g. sworn evidence, expert duties to be independent and assist the Court, testing by cross-examination, independent assessment of witness credit by the Court etc)

DEHP ultimately required final reply submissions by 29 December 2017, meaning that Land Court objectors worked through the Christmas holiday period to meet the process timelines.


Monday 17 July 2017

On 17 July the Supreme Court joined the Chief Executive of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection as a party to the proceeding and made directions orders that will see the parties prepare for a trial early in 2018.

The matter will return for a review in December to ensure the parties have taken all necessary steps in preparation for trial.

The matter is listed for a review on 01 February 2018.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the hearing of NAC’s judicial review application has been set down for 5 days from Monday 19 March 2018 before Her Honour Justice Bowskill.


Friday 23 June 2017

The following statement is from our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance:

MEDIA RELEASE: Supreme Court backs farmers again in New Acland freeze refusal

In another win for farmers, Queensland’s Supreme Court has rejected New Acland’s bid to freeze a legal recommendation to outright refuse their controversial Stage 3 mine expansion on the best agricultural land in Queensland.

Following an unprecedented win in the Land Court last month, recommending the outright refusal of the New Acland Stage 3 expansion, the mining company applied for both an application for stay and a judicial review of the recommendation.

The stay would have prevented the state government making any decisions in relation to mining applications for Stage 3 until New Acland’s ’challenge of the Land Court recommendation concluded.

Paul King, President of Land Court objector Oakey Coal Action Alliance and local resident said: “The Court has rightly rejected New Acland’s attempt to gag state government decisions in relation to this unwanted project.

“We expect the Supreme Court to find no problems with the Land Court’s recommendation to refuse Stage 3 should New Acland’s appeal go ahead. We have the facts on our side.

“It’s time for New Acland to pack up and let us keep farming the best agricultural land in state - like we have for the past century.

“Our community needs the state government to make a swift amendment to Stage 3 approvals based on the recommendation of the Land Court.

“Let us get on with our lives and restore our community without continued fear of attack on our health, livelihoods and futures.”

CEO and Solicitor Jo Bragg of EDO Qld, lawyers for OCAA in the Land Court case, said: “This is a win for our client and the Acland community who have been suffering from the impacts of this mine for the best part of a decade.

“New Acland has applied for judicial review to ultimately have the Land Court’s recommendations struck out and have its case reconsidered. Today we asked to be included in those proceedings so the communities voice does not go unheard. The Court agreed.

“New Acland had every opportunity over 18 months in the Land Court to put forward its case. The Land Court gave a clear and unequivocal recommendation that this mine should not proceed due to impacts on groundwater and good quality Darling Downs agricultural land. We fully expect the Supreme Court will find no legal fault in this recommendation.”

The directions hearing for the judicial review is scheduled for 17 July 2017.


Wednesday 21 June 2017

On 15 June 2017 New Acland Coal (NAC) filed for judicial review of the Land Court’s decision, alleging the Member made numerous legal errors and had apprehended bias. (Read the following comment from our client).

A directions hearing for the review is listed for 17 July 2017. NAC has also applied to stay (or hold) both the Land Court’s recommendation and the state government’s final decision making powers on the relevant approvals until the outcome of the judicial review. This Friday 23 June 2017, the Supreme Court will hear NAC’s stay application. OCAA will be applying to join the judicial review application.


Monday 19 June 2017

In the news:


1:30pm Friday 16 June 2017

On the 15 June 2017, New Hope filed for judicial review of the Land Court's recommendation to outright reject the New Acland Stage 3 mine expansion.

Comment from Paul King, President of Oakey Coal Action Alliance:

"At this time, OCAA or our legal team at EDO Qld have not been served with the application for judicial review by New Hope regarding the expansion of its controversial Stage 3 New Acland expansion.

"By not doing so, this appears to be a continuation of the Land Court finding that: “NAC has a tendency to treat anyone who disagrees with it in a dismissive and disrespectful manner”.

"While it is within the mining company’s legal right to apply for judicial review; it would be another disappointing delay in our community’s David-and-Goliath battle to protect our land, homes and businesses from this risky expansion.

"The Land Court recommendation on 31 May 2017 was absolute in rejecting this risky expansion and acknowledging the impacts to our water supplies, our farm businesses and the health of our families were too severe.

"The law has spoken and said that Stage 3 should be rejected recognising major shortcomings with groundwater impact predictions, over inflated job figures, significant loss of royalties and the need for much better noise limits and dust monitoring than what is currently in place.

"It also acknowledged the agricultural land surrounding Acland was among the best 1.5 per cent in the state and the short-term gains of a ten year project do not outweigh sustainable farming generations that will lead us into the next century.

"The current Queensland government must honor its commitment and the Court’s recommendation by outright rejecting Stage 3. It would be a disappointing day if this decision, and our community’s continued uncertainty for our future, were to be delayed."


9:00am, Wednesday 7 June 2017

In an unprecedented and historic decision, on 31 May 2017 the Queensland Land Court recommended outright rejection of the New Acland Stage 3 mine expansion, after the most intense factual scrutiny ever applied by the Land Court to a mining project.

For key findings in the historic decision, see here.

Case summary


6 June 2017

In the news:


1:00pm, Wednesday 31 May 2017

The Queensland Land Court today backed concerns raised by local farmers and recommended against the approval of the controversial New Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs near Toowoomba.

Read the 34-page summary decision (and full recommendation from the Queensland Land Court).

CEO and Solicitor Jo-Anne Bragg from EDO Queensland, the legal representation for OCAA in the case, said: After an historic battle by local farmers and landholders against this mining giant the independent Land Court has recommended refusal of the Stage 3 New Acland coal mine expansion.

“Today’s win highlights the significance of the courts and community objection rights in holding government and projects accountable under the law and what can be achieved by hardworking members of the community who band together against all odds to challenge deep-pocketed mining companies.

“Without this case, the costs and benefits of this project would not have been scrutinised before the independent Land Court and evidence including faulty groundwater modelling, increased noise and dust risks and complaints, and over-inflated job figures, would not have been exposed.

“All eyes now turn to the Mines Minister Lynham as well as the Department of Environment and Minister Miles as to whether they will respect the decision of this independent Court, which has thoroughly reviewed the evidence and considered submissions from all sides,” Ms Bragg said.

acland_win1.jpg acland_win_2.jpg

In the news:


5:00pm, Thursday 20 April 2017

Evidence in the Land Court objection hearing against the New Acland Stage 3 Expansion Project has closed once again, following New Acland Coal’s request last year to reopen evidence in the Land Court.

The final evidence was heard on Thursday 20 April 2017, which was day 99 of the hearing.

The parties will now complete further submissions on the reopened evidence then await the Court’s decision.


10:00am, Monday 03 April 2017

Hardworking farmers and community members of the agriculturally-rich Darling Downs region will be back into court this week, to once again defend the future of their livelihoods.

Following a request from coal giant New Acland Coal to submit further evidence relating to groundwater and the expansion of their Acland mine, the historic Queensland Land Court case has been re-opened.

EDO Qld represented Oakey Coal Action Alliance, a local farming and community group of more than 60 members, who were one of the  community objectors in the case which ran from 7 March to 7 October last year. Now, it will be re-opened from 3 April for a further 5 days to hear new groundwater evidence from the parties’ experts.

“To be clear, the re-opening of the case was at the request of New Acland Coal and not our client. EDO Qld respects the Land Court decision to reopen evidence,” EDO Qld CEO Jo-Anne Bragg said.

IMG_3224

Local objector and representative of OCCA Aileen Harrison (pictured, above centre) said,

"I have four points:

"1.There is no life without water. Nothing can survive without water. Our farms cannot survive without water. We cannot survive without water. If the mine goes ahead it will cut through the aquifers and risk our bores drying up. If we have no farms, what will we eat and what will our children eat? We need to look after our future for our children and grandchildren. Long after the mine is gone, the farms will still be around.

"2.There are no certain alternatives to supply water. This risky mine should not go ahead.

"3.What happens when mining is over in a short 12 years? Mining is short term but if it destroys our water, it will kill off farming that could continue otherwise for hundreds of years.We need water for our food bowl now and in the future.

"4.The dust and noise from the mine affected my families’ health. If it is expanded, how many families will be affected, including children? How can anyone agree with that?"

A judgment might be delivered during the case or expected at anytime within the next three to six months.


09:00am, Friday 03 February 2016

Yesterday the Land Court granted the application of New Acland Coal to reopen the case so that the mining company could admit into evidence a new report on groundwater. The hearing will recommence April 2017.

Today in the media:

Despite final submissions in the case in early October 2016, on 19 December New Acland Coal applied to have new advice of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC) admitted into evidence for the Land Court to consider.  The IESC was established by the Federal Government to provide scientific advice to decision makers on the impact that coal seam gas and large coal mining development may have on Australia's water resources. Two previous IESC advices to the Federal Department of the Environment (in 2014 and 2015), which outlined concerns with New Acland’s assessment of water impacts from the proposed mine expansion, had featured extensively during groundwater evidence in the case.

On 18 January 2017, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy approved the mine expansion under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  In his statement of reasons for the decision, the Minister said he relied on the IESC’s recent advice that “…most matters raised in the 10 December 2015 advice have been addressed” and that residual matters are fully addressed by the conditions of approval.

Given the direct relevance to evidence in the hearing, yesterday the Land Court granted NAC’s application to reopen the case.  However, this was only on the basis argued by OCAA and other objectors that further evidence from experts should also be allowed with respect to the IESC advice.  The Court also ordered NAC to provide the parties with additional NAC reports that the IESC had relied on for its recent advice.  These reports are now publically available from the Department of the Environment as a result of a freedom of information request by OCAA – see the Department’s 2017 disclosure log with FOI Reference 161207.

OCAA and other objectors are required to provide any supplementary evidence and reports by 10 March 2017.  The hearing of further evidence will then recommence on 3 April 2017.


05:00pm, Tuesday 13 September 2016

This week our hardworking solicitors filed final written submissions in the Land Court (a massive 600 pages!) on behalf of our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) in their objection to the New Acland Coal Stage 3 expansion.

Final oral submissions will be 5-7 October in the Queensland Land Court in Brisbane.


5:00pm, Friday 12 August 2016

Cross-examination of all witnesses has now concluded and final matters are being attended to.

We expect evidence to conclude tonight.


11:30am, Friday 12 August 2016

After sitting late into the night last night the Court and parties have made good progress and hope to complete the cross-examination of the last witness today. This will conclude the hearing of evidence and the parties will then have time to prepare submissions before the final oral submissions from 5-7 October.


04:00pm, Thursday 11 August 2016

The hard working Land Court and parties are sitting late into the evening again tonight to try to get through the evidence of the witness called by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection this week.  If all goes well the evidence in case will finally conclude tomorrow, with closing submissions from 5 October.


01:15pm, Tuesday 09 August 2016

The former residents of Acland are telling the Federal Government they want their old home preserved from destruction. Tonight the population of Acland will swell dramatically as former residents return to the mining town to complete their census forms.

The ABC reports...


01:00pm, Tuesday 09 August 2016

Court will not sit tomorrow due to the Ekka People's Day Public Holiday. 

The New Acland Coal mine expansion will permanently disturb over 1,361 hectares (13.61km2) of prime agricultural country identified as ‘strategic cropping land’. While you're enjoying the Ekka holiday today, please spare a though for farmers in the Acland region who have been fighting in court for the past 16-weeks so they can continue to put food on your table.


12:30pm, Tuesday 09 August 2016

This morning Peter Faulkner, former president of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, finished giving evidence for landholder objector Dr Tanya Plant.

The Court will now hear evidence from what is believed to be final witness Christopher Loveday, acting Director of Petroleum and Gas at the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP).


09:00am, Monday 08 August 2016

Today the Court will hear evidence from local residents Angela Mason and Aileen Harrison.


08:00am, Friday 05 August 2016

Today lay witness Brett Hassell, public servant, will be giving evidence for landholder objector Aileen Harrison. This will be followed by the evidence of landholders Marilyn Plant and Aileen Harrison.


08:00am, Thursday 04 August 2016

This morning the Court will hear evidence from fifth-generation cattle farmer Sid Plant (pictured, below).

EDO 46L

Later today Andrew Boyd, chief operating officer of New Hope Corporation Ltd, will return to the stand to give evidence for New Acland Coal.


07:00am, Wednesday 03 August 2016

There will be no court today.


09:00am, Tuesday 02 August 2016

Today Dr Tanya Plant will continue giving evidence. This will be followed by the evidence of lay witness Dr Mark Copeland.


08:45am, Monday 01 August 2016

Today landholder objector Dr. Tanya Plant will continue giving evidence. The Court will also hear evidence from landholder objector Aileen Harrison (pictured, below).

Aileen Harrison at her property before they were forced to move.JPGPioneer Park 07 014


10:00am, Friday 29 July 2016

Today landholder objector Dr. Tanya Plant will continue giving evidence.


09:00am, Thursday 28 July 2016

This morning John Standley will continue giving evidence. Later today, landholder objector Dr. Tanya Plant will be on the stand giving evidence.


09:00am, Wednesday 27 July 2016

This morning writer Sharyn Munro will be on the stand giving evidence for Dr Tanya Plant. This will be followed by the evidence of retired agricultural chemist Mr John Standley.


09:00am, Tuesday 26 July 2016

Today last man in Acland Glen Beutel will continue giving evidence.

Mr Beutel follows the tradition of his parents and single-handedly tends the gardens of Tom Doherty Park in the centre of town, the location of Acland's annual ANZAC Day special ceremony.

Later today retired agricultural and natural resource economist Ian Whan will give evidence for the Darling Downs Environment Council. This will be followed by the evidence of farmer Angela Mason.


09:00am, Monday 25 July 2016

This morning the Court will hear evidence from Glen Beutel, the last remaining resident in the town of Acland.

In the following short videos from ABC Open Southern Queensland and The Feed Mr Beutel documents what is disappearing and the hidden natural beauty of what remains in his home town of Acland.


9:00am, Tuesday 19 July 2016 - Friday 22 July 2016

Court will not be sitting for the rest of this week.


09:00am, Friday 15 July 2016

Today Noel Wieck will finish giving evidence. Read Noel’s story and why he is battling the expansion of the New Acland mine.


08:30am, Thursday 14 July 2016

Today Noel Wieck will continue giving evidence.


09:00am, Wednesday 13 July 2016

Today Steven Ward and Dr Geralyn McCarron will give evidence.

Later today, dairy farmer Noel Wieck will begin giving evidence. Read Noel’s story and why he is battling the expansion of the New Acland mine.

12183_118 - Noel Wieck w silos for farm grown fodder grain onl


09:45am, Tuesday 12 July 2016

This morning Edward McKeiver, Vice President at Aurizon, will be giving evidence.

Later today lay witness cattle farmer Max Scholefield will give evidence. Read Max’s story and why he wants to stop New Acland Stage 3.

EDO 01L


10:00am, Monday 11 July 2016

This morning lay witness Frank Ashman, president of community group Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA), will be giving evidence. Read Frank’s story and why he is battling the expansion of the New Acland mine.

12183_082 - F Ashman w bulls onl

Frank's evidence will be followed by the evidence of farmer and natural resource manager Desley Spies.


09:00am, Friday 08 July 2016

This morning Andrew Boyd, the new Chief Operating Officer for the New Hope Group will take the stand to give evidence.


10:00am, Thursday 07 July 2016

Dr Andrew Jeremijenko will continue giving evidence today. Dr Jeremijenko is expected to briefly return to the stand following the evidence of Andrew Boyd. Mr Boyd is the new Chief Operating Officer for the New Hope Group and will take the stand tomorrow morning.


10:00am, Wednesday 06 July 2016

Dr Andrew Jeremijenko, who gave evidence yesterday for landholder objector Dr. Tanya Plant on the social impact assessment of the project, will today give evidence for Dr Plant on physical and mental health impacts of the project.


9:00am, Tuesday 05 July 2016

Today Dee Elliott, mental health expert for New Acland Coal (NAC), will begin giving evidence on the social impact assessment (SIA) of the project.

This will be followed by evidence from Dr Andrew Jeremijenko, GP and specialist in occupational and environmental medicine, who will give evidence on the social impact assessment of the project for landholder objector Dr. Tanya Plant.


 9:00am, Friday 01 July 2016

Today Dr John Chalk, psychiatrist and expert for New Acland Coal (NAC), will give evidence on mental health.

(PLEASE NOTE: Court will be closed Monday and will return Tuesday 05 July 2016).


3:45pm, Thursday 30 June 2016

The hard-working Land Court will again be sitting on into the evening tonight, to hear more health evidence - this time on mental health. NAC's witness Dr John Chalk will be cross-examined by barrister Saul Holt QC.


5:00pm, Tuesday 28 June 2016

The Land Court is working hard tonight, going into overtime for a special night court sitting from 5:15pm to continue hearing health evidence from Dr McKenzie.

EDO Night Owl solicitor Juanita Williams will be representing OCAA at this sitting.


9:15am, Tuesday 28 June 2016

Today and tomorrow the Queensland Land Court will hear compelling evidence from air and health experts on:
• New Acland Coal mine’s shocking air pollution complaints history and the expected damage to locals’ health if expansion goes ahead without controls
• The mine expansion’s potential to breach new air quality standards designed to protect human health

This morning the Court will hear evidence from the coal company's physical health expert Dr David McKenzie.

Next week Dr Andrew Jeremijenko, physical health expert for objector Dr Tanya Plant, will give evidence on physical health impacts to the community from the project.


9:45am, Thursday 23 June 2016

Simon Welchman, the air expert witness for the New Acland Coal Stage 3 mine expansion, is expected to finish on the stand today. Mr Welchman will be followed by Dr John Taylor, air quality expert for Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA).

John Taylor & Jo Bragg

Dr John Taylor, Air Quality Expert for OCAA with Jo Bragg, Solicitor and CEO of EDO Qld, at Qld Land Court


6:00am, Thursday 23 June 2016

In Queensland’s Land Court, Mr Simon Welchman, the air expert witness for the New Acland Coal Stage 3 mine expansion, an open cut mine that will destroy prime agricultural land, risk precious groundwater and potentially place some of the local community’s health at risk, has agreed there is high risk of the project exceeding air quality standards unless controls are in place.

CEO of EDO Qld, lawyers for Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) which is one of the 30 objectors in the case, Jo-Anne Bragg said: “It is part of the case for OCAA that even with the company’s new proposed air quality controls for the Stage 3 expansion, dust levels at a number of sensitive receptors, like some people’s houses and properties, will still be on the cusp of exceeding legal air quality limits. This can be clearly seen by looking at the Air Quality Modelling in the Environmental Impact Statement. Our case is that the modelling is riddled with problems and so our clients fear exceedances.”

Ms Bragg said that in Court this week Mr Simon Welchman, air expert for New Acland Coal, responded to at least four matters with respect to the company’s air quality modelling (the modelling was not carried out by Mr Welchman) of the proposed Stage 3 operation put to him by barrister Mr Saul Holt QC for OCAA including

  • 54 days of actual recorded data on airborne dust: The predictive modelling uses actual data on fine dust (airborne PM10) from just 54 days out of a possible 4,015 days or 11 years (about 1 per cent of the time in operation of the current mine). Dr Taylor has said “The monitoring data available in relation to the operations of the earlier stages of the New Acland mine is very limited and completely inadequate to provide any indication of the potential impacts associated with mining operations.”.  Mr Welchman did not agree with that statement.
  • Overburden Area not Included: Mr Welchman agreed that the year of construction of a “30 metre high pile of overburden, 130 hectares, with wind blowing at high levels at the top of it” wasn’t modelled.  (To understand the size that’s about 191 football fields for State of Origin fans);
  • Flaws in Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): Mr Welchman identified and had to correct numerous flaws in tables predicting dust pollution at sensitive receptors such as residential houses in the company’s Environmental Impact Statement. Those flaws were not Mr Welchman’s work. Ms Bragg said these flaws were overlooked by the Coordinator General in assessments and further highlight the importance of community objections in the Land Court;
  • Better practices: Mr Welchman also conceded he would have chosen different practices to some of the dust modelling practices used by others in the EIS.

“Community objectors, some of whom had the opportunity to cross examine Mr Welchman in Court today like local resident Angela Mason, are fed up with noise and air pollution from the existing mine and fear coal dust levels will increase as the project expands and in many cases moves closer to their homes. The court has heard that their complaints about coal dust and noise levels and requests for data have fallen on deaf ears for the past decade. They have made more than 100 complaints to the mining company and 30 to the state environment department during this period,” Ms Bragg said.

“Our case for OCAA is that the lack of sufficient actually monitored air quality data means no one really knows, from a testing perspective, a reliable data set or base for air quality modelling for the project because the company hasn’t done it.

“What we do know is that we’re dealing with a real problem with dust already affecting many in the Acland community, from nuisances to washing and housing to the breathing in of fine dust particles and the possible health impacts this creates.

“Given this expansion may operate for over a decade and move closer to people’s homes, and given New Acland Coal and unsatisfactory response to community complaints, it is vital that the potential air quality impacts are closely examined in this case.”


8:30am, Wednesday 22 June 2016

The evidence of Simon Welchman, air expert witness for the New Acland Coal, will continue again today.


10:00am, Tuesday 21 June 2016

Today the evidence of Simon Welchman, air expert witness for the New Acland Coal, will continue.


5:00pm, Monday 20 June 2016

Objector farmer Aileen Harrison and Paul King of Darling Downs Environment Council
Aileen Harrison and Paul King

Today objector farmer Aileen Harrison and Darling Downs Environment Council's Paul King listened to air quality evidence by Simon Welchman, engaged by New Acland Coal.

Tomorrow cross-examination of Mr Welchman by barrister Saul Holt QC will continue.


10:15am, Monday 20 June 2016

This week in the case evidence will be heard on air quality, and, it is expected, health.

Simon Welchman, New Acland Coal's expert witness for air quality, will be cross-examined in court today.


10:30am, Wednesday 16 June 2016

This morning in Court our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance will cross-examine NAC's lay witness Mr Patrick Wells, Account Lead (Surface Coal) at Orica, on blasting.


1:00pm, Wednesday 15 June 2016

Evidence on noise in this hearing has now concluded.

The next witness to give evidence will be flora ecologist Dr Andrew Daniel, for New Acland Coal.


08:30AM, Tuesday 14 June 2016

Mr John Savery's cross-examination continues in the Land Court this morning.


10:30AM, Monday 13 June 2016

Today in the Land Court lay witness for New Acland Coal Mr Shane Charles will give evidence.

Later today - after Mr Charles' evidence-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination - we expect the cross-examination of our client's expert witness on noise, Mr John Savery, to continue.


10:00AM, Friday 10 June 2016

Mr John Savery's evidence continues this morning in Queensland's Land Court. Mr Savery is expert witness for noise for our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance.

We expect Mr Savery to be cross-examined by New Acland Coal later today.


10:00AM, Thursday 09 June 2016

Today in court we expect that Mr Elkin's cross-examination will end, and Mr John Savery, expert witness for noise for our client OCAA's witness, will begin his evidence.


08:20AM, Wednesday 08 June 2016

This morning our client OCAA's examination of Mr Shane Elkin, expert witness for NAC on noise, continues in the Land Court, with other objectors to cross examine Mr Elkin afterwards.


9:15AM, Tuesday 07 June 2016

OCAA will continue to cross-examine New Acland Coal's expert witness for noise, Mr Shane Elkin, today in Queensland's Land Court.

It is likely that other objectors will cross-examine Mr Elkin later today.


09:30AM, Monday 06 June 2016

This morning in court New Acland Coal's expert witness for noise, Mr Shane Elkin, will be cross-examined by our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance.

Mr Elkin's cross-examination is expected to take all day.


11:05AM, Thursday 02 June 2016

Court is now closed for the week.


09:40AM, Wednesday 01 June 2016

Today the Court will hear evidence from New Acland Coal (NAC) lay witnesses Graham Cooke (farmer, continued from yesterday) and Tracey Tierney (Principal of Oakey Real estate).


09:30AM, Tuesday 31 May 2016

Today the Court will hear evidence from New Acland Coal (NAC) lay witnesses Tracy Tully (currently suspended Acting Principal, Oakey State High School); Nigel de Veth (has specialist drilling company); David Cooper (has a local earthmoving business) and Graham Cooke (farmer South-West of Acland coal mine).


09:45AM, Monday 30 May 2016

Today the Court will hear evidence from New Acland Coal (NAC) lay witnesses Denis Janetzki and Leone Janetzki (farmers west of the mine).


10:00AM, Friday 27 May 2016

New Acland Coal's (NAC's) Community and Social Environment expert Dee Elliott will return to the witness box today, following Bill Thompson NAC's land use and soils expert.

The following short video from SBS The Feed explains the story of Acland and the loss felt by community following the destruction of the town. Glen Beutel, the last remaining resident in the town of Acland, talks about what has disappearing from the town and the hidden natural beauty of what remains.

This moving tribute to Acland portrays the loss and sadness felt by the destruction of the town.


10:00AM, Thursday 26 May 2016

The evidence of Bill Thompson land use and soils expert for New Acland Coal (NAC) will continue today.

Tomorrow the evidence of Dee Elliott, Community and Social Environment expert for NAC will continue from Tuesday.


01:40PM, Wednesday 25 May 2016

The evidence of Bill Thompson land use and soils expert for New Acland Coal (NAC) will likely continue until the end of the day.

After lunch parties will argue the powers of the Land Court to inform itself, (for example, can the Court  issue subpoenas or compel parties to provide relevant information ).


09:20AM, Wednesday 25 May 2016

Today Bill Thompson will be giving evidence on land use and soils for New Acland Coal (NAC).


10:00AM, Tuesday 24 May 2016

Today Dee Elliott, Community and Social Environment expert for New Acland Coal (NAC) will continue giving evidence.


09:30AM, Monday 23 May 2016

Dee Elliott, Community and Social Environment expert for New Acland Coal (NAC) is giving evidence for most of today.


09:30AM, Thursday 19 May 2016

Today Adrian Caneris will give evidence on terrestrial fauna for New Acland Coal (NAC).


09:00AM, Wednesday 18 May 2016

Today is the last day of ground water evidence in the Acland Land Court case.

Brian Barnett, the controversial additional groundwater expert for New Acland Coal (NAC), will continue giving evidence for most of the day.

Cisow_rUUAAwaiv

(Pictured: Our team prepares to fight for justice for our farmer clients against the groundwater impacts of Acland coal mine).


05:00PM, Tuesday 17 May 2016

Tomorrow Brian Barnett, the controversial additional groundwater expert for New Acland Coal (NAC), will continue giving evidence for most of the day.


09:00AM, Tuesday 17 May 2016

Today the examination of Professor Adrian Werner groundwater modeller for Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) will continue. This will be followed be examination of Brian Barnett, the controversial additional groundwater expert for New Acland Coal (NAC).


10:00AM, Monday 16 May 2016

Today Professor Adrian Werner groundwater modeller for Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) will be examined.


04:00PM, Friday 13 May 2016

Today Andrew Durick groundwater expert for New Acland Coal (NAC) was cross examined extensively by locals dairy farmer Noel Weick, Paul King of Darling Downs Environment Council (DDEC) and Dr John Standley.

The groundwater evidence is taking much longer than expected and will continue for a few days early next week.


10:00AM, Friday 13 May 2016

This morning the evidence of  Andrew Durick, New Acland Coal's (NAC's) groundwater modelling expert, will continue. Court will not be sitting this afternoon.


04:00PM, Thursday 12 May 2016

There was a major admission in Court today. 

Andrew Durick hydrologist on behalf of New Acland Coal (NAC) was under cross examination by Saul Holt QC for Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA).

Durick  agreed certain matters not considered in the uncertainty analysis could have a significant impact on uncertainty.

Durick later admitted that his confidence in the predictive capacity of ground water is wavering a bit.

This is a major admission by Durick.


02:45PM, Thursday 12 May 2016

Today the objection by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance against the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 expansion continues to be heard in the Queensland Land Court. The length of proceedings are stretching out due to a controversial decision, as the court has allowed New Acland Coal (NAC) to have an additional new groundwater expert witness as NAC tries to bolster the company’s previous witnesses.

This morning Saul Holt QC cross-examined existing groundwater witness for NAC, Mr Andrew Durick on behalf of EDO Qld’s client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA). Mr Holt later will examine the additional new groundwater witness for NAC, Mr Brian Barnett.

Ms Jo Bragg, CEO and Solicitor for EDO Qld said, "It is unconventional and simply unfair for New Acland Coal to be given permission to have an extra groundwater witness, giving the company two bites at the cherry.

"New Acland Coal is attempting to bolster their evidence on groundwater because their first two witnesses on groundwater modelling and groundwater data did not inspire confidence.

"The key issue remains the risk of faulting on the predicted drawdown of groundwater and impacts on local water users."

Mr Frank Ashman, Beef Cattle Stud Grazier and President of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance said, "What we have heard during cross-examination of New Acland Coal’s water experts gave us no confidence that our precious water will not be impacted. There are so many errors coming out in that modelling. In fact the new groundwater models are alarmingly inconsistent, creating greater concern around the soundness of the company’s water modelling.

"Farmers objecting to this project have grave concerns about  destruction of groundwater. We simply can’t afford to risk groundwater, otherwise our businesses are worthless."

12183_082 - F Ashman w bulls onl                        12183_045 - F a L Ashman portrait blk logo onl                        12183_035 - F Ashman w dog onl


09:30AM, Thursday 12 May 2016

This morning Saul Holt QC will complete the cross-examination of Andrew Durick, New Acland Coal's (NAC's) groundwater modelling expert, on behalf of our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA). Mr Durick's evidence will be followed by that of OCAA's groundwater expert Dr Matthew Currell.

Dr Currell, while already having given evidence, has had to fly back from Melbourne to give evidence again after the Court allowed the additional evidence of Mr Barnett, as a new expert for NAC.


4:30PM, Wednesday 11 May 2016

Yesterday afternoon, after the experts produced a joint report, Saul Holt QC commenced the cross-examination of Andrew Durick, NACs groundwater modelling expert.


10:00AM, Wednesday 11 May 2016

Yesterday, despite opposition by OCAA, the Court allowed additional evidence of a new NAC expert, Mr Brian Barnett, about the use of geological faulting in the groundwater modelling.

This morning, all five groundwater experts of NAC and OCAA are meeting to discuss the new evidence, and will attempt to reach agreement about the use of faulting (faulting is important because it can affect groundwater flow, and therefore, in trying to predict the impacts from any expansion of the mine).


04:30PM, Tuesday 10 May 2016

Despite opposition from OCCA, the Land Court gave permission for NAC to bring in an additional fresh groundwater expert, Mr Brian Barnett. Essentially the accepted rule is each party can only have one expert on a certain topic, so we strenuously objected to NAC getting two bites at the cherry.


10:00AM, Tuesday 10 May 2016

This morning the Court will hear argument between NAC and OCAA about whether NAC should be allowed to bring and rely on additional expert groundwater evidence.

Later today it is likely that Andrew Durick, groundwater expert for NAC, will give evidence on modelled groundwater impacts for the mine.


09:30AM, Monday 09 May 2016

Today at 10am farmers and residents resume their battle in the Queensland Land Court to stop the controversial expansion of the New Acland Coal (NAC) project.

Timothy Rabbitt, NAC's land valuer, will give evidence today regarding the impacts (or otherwise) of the mine on local property values. A number of the objectors will then question Mr Rabbitt about his methods of valuation.


09:30AM, Monday 18 April 2016

There will be a 3-week break from Friday 15 August 2016 to Monday 9 May 2016.


09:30AM, Friday 15 April 2016

Today traffic and transport engineer Brett McClurg will be giving evidence on traffic, transport and roads.


10:00AM, Thursday 14 April 2016

This morning Tom Newsome from Outcross Agri-Services will be giving evidence on livestock and rehabilitation. This will likely take most of the day.


10:00AM, Wednesday 13 April 2016

First up this morning, visual amenity expert Alan Chenoweth will continue giving evidence for New Hope Coal for approximately half-an-hour. This will be followed by surface water evidence for the rest of the day, from Greg Roads, founding director of WRM Water & Environment, for New Acland Coal and Agricultural Chemist Dr John Standley OAM.


05:00PM, Tuesday 12 April 2016

Tomorrow morning visual amenity expert Alan Chenoweth will continue giving evidence for New Hope Coal. This will be followed by surface water evidence from Greg Roads and John Standley.


09:00AM, Tuesday 12 April 2016

This morning Andrew Perkins, agricultural economics expert for New Acland Coal, will be cross examined by landholders. Mr Perkins' evidence will then be followed by the evidence of New Acland Coal's visual amenity expert Alan Chenoweth.


01:30AM, Monday 11 April 2016

Economist Andrew Perkins has now taken the stand and will commence evidence on agricultural economics for New Acland Coal.

There will be no evidence on groundwater modelling this week, which has been delayed so that New Acland Coal has time to deal with errors in its earlier evidence.


01:30AM, Monday 11 April 2016

Economist Rod Campbell has now finished giving evidence on coal markets and economist John Quiggin has taken the stand to commence evidence on agricultural economics for Oakey Coal Action Alliance. Andrew Perkins, agricultural economics expert for New Acland Coal, will possibly commence evidence this afternoon.


09:00AM, Monday 11 April 2016

This morning economist Rod Campbell will take the stand to give evidence on coal markets on behalf of Oakey Coal Action Alliance.

This week, the following order of topics (and witnesses) is likely*:

MONDAY: Coal Markets (Rod Campbell); Agricultural Economics (Andrew Perkins);

TUESDAY: remainder of Agricultural Economics (Andrew Perkins); Visual Amenity (Alan Chenoweth);

WEDNESDAY (short day): remainder of Tuesday, Surface Water (Greg Roads and John Standley);

THURSDAY: remainder of Wednesday, Livestock and rehabilitation (Tom Newsome);

FRIDAY: administrative details, Traffic, transport and roads (Brett McClurg).

* Predicted schedule only. Watch this feed for latest updates.


01:45PM, Friday 08 April 2016

Court is now closed for the week.

Today the cross-examination of New Acland Coal's coal markets expert Stephen Williams came to an end. Next Monday economist Rod Campbell will take the stand to give evidence on coal markets on behalf of Oakey Coal Action Alliance.


09:00AM, Friday 08 April 2016

This morning Mr Stephen Williams, coal markets expert for New Acland Coal will continue giving evidence on coal markets.


03:10PM, Thursday 07 April 2016

Mr Stephen Williams, coal markets expert for New Acland Coal is now taking the stand. Mr Williams evidence will likely be finished tomorrow.


02:55PM, Thursday 07 April 2016

Mr Saul Holt QC is currently re-examining Prof John Quiggin following the 25 minute cross-examination by Peter Ambrose QC, barrister for New Hope Coal.

Next to take the stand is Mr Stephen Williams, coal markets expert for New Acland Coal.


2:30PM, Thursday 07 April 2016

Prof John Quiggin is currently being cross-examined by Peter Ambrose QC, barrister for New Hope Coal.


11:45AM, Thursday 07 April 2016

Professor John Quiggin, one of the most prolific economists in Australia, has now taken the stand for our client OCAA, giving evidence on input-output and CGE economic modelling.


09:00AM, Thursday 07 April 2016

This morning in court the cross-examination of Roderick Campbell by New Acland Coal continues.

Following Mr Campbell's evidence, Professor John Quiggin will take the stand for our client OCAA, giving evidence on input-output and CGE modelling.


08:45AM, Thursday 07 April 2016

Explosive evidence given in the Qld Land Court yesterday has revealed that an estimated $500M in royalties from the Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs will flow to the coal company and a small number of property owners, instead of to the Qld Government.

This means that financial benefits of the controversial project to taxpayers will be severely limited.

Paul King from Darling Downs Environment Centre, who is an objector in the case, said that:

“Witnesses for New Hope Coal admitted in court yesterday that the direct benefits to Qld from the Acland Stage 3 coal expansion will be very limited.

“Experts gave evidence that the Qld Government and taxpayers would miss out on approximately $500M in royalties from the mine. The coal miner would effectively pay those royalties to itself and a handful of property owners” he said.

In many older land title areas in Qld, royalties are sometimes required to be paid to private landowners if they have title to the subsurface. This is the case at Acland, where the miner New Hope Coal has purchased the majority of the land earmarked for mining.

The revelations yesterday followed court admissions last week that New Hope had dramatically over-estimated jobs in the project, when their economist revised job estimates down from 2,953 jobs per annum to as few as 680 jobs per annum.

Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance said “The Qld Government approved this mine for no good reason it seems, because there is certainly no meaningful return to the Qld taxpayer[1].

“The local community will carry the burden of severe costs from the mine including damage to groundwater, negative health impacts, and ruined agricultural land, and yet the Qld Government will have very little to show for it.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that the community has been left to pay the ultimate price for this mine, while the coal company is busy lining their own pockets with royalties.

“Before the last election, the Qld Government promised to review the assessment process for this mine expansion, which has been marred by a political donations controversy, but they have failed to deliver on that promise since taking office.

“The revelations yesterday about royalty flows plus recent admissions that employment outcomes will be limited, and in fact local jobs in agriculture will shrink, should trigger urgent action by the Qld Government to honour their promise” he said.

[1] The Qld Government is likely to receive approximately $39M


02:30PM, Wednesday 06 April 2016

Roderick Campbell's examination-in-chief has just finished. Mr Campbell is now being cross-examined by Dr Tanya Plant.

Further expert evidence on economic assessments will be given tomorrow by another expert witness for our client OCAA, Professor John Quiggin, one of the most prolific economists in Australia.


10:00AM, Wednesday 06 April 2016

The evidence of Dr Jerome Fahrer, expert witness for New Acland Coal, will continue this morning, followed by economist Roderick Campbell, Director of Research at The Australia Institute (pictured, below left) expert witness for our client OCAA.

Further expert evidence on economic assessments will be given tomorrow by John Quiggin, Professor and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland (pictured below, centre, with barrister Saul Holt QC). Professor Quiggin is also an expert witness for OCAA.

12512667_1010391025663723_8756374513967073197_n


7:30AM, Tuesday 05 April 2016

The evidence of Dr Jerome Fahrer, expert witness for New Acland Coal, will continue this morning. Dr Fahrer's evidence is expected to take the rest of the day, as other objectors and Land Court Member Paul Smith put questions to the witness.

Economist Roderick Campbell, expert witness for our client OCAA, is expected to take the stand tomorrow to discuss economic assessments.


1:15PM, Monday 04 April 2016

The hearing continues in the Land Court today, with the evidence of Dr Jerome Fahrer, expert witness for New Acland Coal, expected to take the rest of the day.

In case you missed it, last Friday Dr Fahrer admitted that the company’s job claims are exaggerated, and that the mine would shrink local employment in agricultural industries.

meme2

Today in the media:


5:30PM, Friday 01 April 2016 

Today in the media:


12:30PM, Friday 01 April 2016 

In the Qld Land Court today an expert witness for the New Acland Coal mine Stage 3 expansion has admitted that job figures for the project are far lower than initially forecast, echoing his previous court admission in 2015 that Adani’s Carmichael mine job figures were inflated, and that the mine would shrink local employment in agricultural industries.

CEO of EDO Qld, representing Oakey Coal Action Alliance, Jo-Anne Bragg, in court today, said, “It seems today is both Groundhog Day and April Fool’s Day, but we are not fooled. Under cross-examination, economics expert Dr Jerome Fahrer for New Acland Coal admitted that the company’s job claims are exaggerated, as he did during the 2015 Carmichael mine court challenge, and that the mine would actually damage local employment in the areas of crops and livestock.

“Scrutiny of job claims in court has seen the initial claims in the EIS of on average 2,953 jobs pa plummet to approximately 430 in written evidence submitted to court - a mere 15 per cent of the workforce originally predicted. Then just this morning Dr Fahrer upped the figure again to 680 jobs, which is still only less than a quarter of the job numbers originally claimed.

“Dr Fahrer also reflected that projects such as the Acland mine expansion are not really about jobs, rather about income and production.

“These kind of startling admissions around job creation highlight the behaviour of mining companies in pumping up the reported benefits of a project. The revelation is exactly why coal affected communities expend their precious time and money pursuing court action.

“It was only last year that Dr Jerome Fahrer burst the bubble on the claimed job benefits of another big Queensland project, Adani’s Carmichael mine, conceding in court that the company’s predicted 10,000 job figure was actually a mere 1,464 net.

“Cross-examination by barrister Saul Holt QC will continue over the economic modelling used to estimate state royalties and other supposed economic benefits of the open cut mine expansion,” Ms Bragg said.

Bild_9_880x0


09:00AM, Friday 01 April 2016 

This morning New Acland Coal witness Dr Jerome Fahrer will be cross-examined by Oakey Coal Action Alliance barrister Saul Holt QC over his economic modeling of New Acland coal mine’s Stage 3 expansion.

Dr Fahrer was Adani’s economic witness in the Carmichael coal mine Land Court hearing last year, where he conceded the company’s predicted 10,000 job figures was actually just 1,400 net.


03:00PM, Thursday 31 March 2016 

Tomorrow, from approximately 10am to noon, New Acland Coal witness Dr Jerome Fahrer will be cross-examined by Oakey Coal Action Alliance barrister Saul Holt QC over his economic modeling of New Acland coal mine’s Stage 3 expansion.

ghost2


12:45PM, Thursday 31 March 2016 

0e98c3b

Cross-examination of Duncan Irvine is now complete.

For the rest of the day Oakey Coal Action Alliance witness, Hydrogeologist Dr Matthew Currell (pictured, right), will be giving evidence. Dr Currell, expert in Hydrogeology & Environmental Geoscience, is a Senior Lecturer in Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering at RMIT University.


09:30AM, Thursday 31 March 2016

This morning John Standley, retired agricultural chemist, will cross-examine Mr Duncan Irvine Principal Hydrogeologist at Australasian Groundwater and Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd. Mr Irvine will then be cross-examined by landholder Angela Mason and later Paul King of the Darling Downs Environment Council. Land Court Member Paul Smith has indicated he will then ask Mr Irvine a number of questions.


03:25PM, Wednesday 30 March 2016

EDO 31L

Landholder Dr Tanya Plant (pictured, right) has now commenced cross-examination of Duncan Irvine.  This will likely go until the end of the day.


02:35PM, Wednesday 30 March 2016

As we return from lunch, Saul Holt QC's cross-examination of Mr Duncan Irvine has now finished. Mr Irvine is now being cross-examined by landholder Noel Wieck (pictured, below)

12183_114-Noel cropped landscape


09:30AM, Wednesday 30 March 2016

This morning Saul Holt QC will continue with his cross-examination of Mr Duncan Irvine Principal Hydrogeologist at Australasian Groundwater and Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd. Mr Holt is expected to take the first half of the day. Other objectors are then expected to cross-examine Mr Irvine later this afternoon.


10:00AM, Tuesday 29 March 2016

Today Saul Holt QC will continue with his cross-examination of Duncan Irvine, Principal Hydrogeologist at Australasian Groundwater and Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd. This will likely take most of the day. Other objectors will likely commence cross-examination of Mr Irvine tomorrow afternoon.


01:30PM, Thursday 24 March 2016

Court is now closed until the end of the Easter break and will recommence Tuesday 29 March 2016.

Next Tuesday Saul Holt QC will continue with the cross-examination of Duncan Irvine, Principal Hydrogeologist at Australasian Groundwater and Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd, on behalf of our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA).


09:30AM, Thursday 24 March 2016

This morning groundwater evidence will commence with the examination of Duncan Irvine, Principal Hydrogeologist at Australasian Groundwater and Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd. Mr Irvine will give evidence with regard to the data behind New Acland Coal’s (NAC's) impact assessment.

Mr Irvine will likely give evidence over a number of days. Later today Mr Irvine will be cross-examined by Saul Holt QC for our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA). This will be followed by cross-examination by other objectors next week (Tuesday 29 March and Wednesday 30 March 2016).


01:00PM, Wednesday 23 March 2016

Today cross-examination of former head and current strategic advisor to New Hope, Mr Bruce Denney, will again continue. Cross-examination will begin with Dr Geralyn McCarron, a GP particularly concerned about the health impacts of the mine. This will be followed by cross-examination by Paul King of the Darling Downs Environment Council. Land Court Member Paul Smith has indicated he will then ask Mr Denney a number of questions.

Today in the media:


03:40PM, Tuesday 22 March 2016

Former Chief Operating Officer and current strategic advisor to New Hope Corp Ltd, Bruce Denney, has just admitted evidence tendered by Glen Beutel showing NAC had pressured Mr Buetel to finalise compensation contracts with NAC before they would discuss heritage protection values in Acland was not ethical/good practice.


9:30AM, Tuesday 22 March 2016

Today the cross examination of former head and current strategic advisor to New Hope Corp Ltd, Mr Bruce Denney, will continue.

Angela Mason, neighbour of the mine, will continue her cross-examination of Mr Denney this morning followed by Glen Beutel, the last remaining resident in the town of Acland.

In the following short videos from ABC Open Southern Queensland and The Feed Mr Beutel documents what is disappearing and the hidden natural beauty of what remains in his home town of Acland.


8:45AM, Monday 21 March 2016

(Note, the following contains updated information and is current as of 9.10am)

The Qld Land Court objection to the New Acland Coal Mine expansion continues, with the Court to hear over the next two weeks from groundwater experts called by New Acland Coal (NAC) and Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA). OCAA will be calling conceptualisation expert Dr Matthew Currell and groundwater modelling expert Professor Adrian Werner.

Today will continue the cross examination of former head and current strategic advisor to New Hope Corp Ltd, Mr Bruce Denney, on issues including complaints about noise and dust.

Later this week experts will provide evidence on behalf of OCAA, which represents over 50 locals and is one of more than 30 community objectors who oppose the project in the case, who say the project threatens to take away groundwater vital to the future of farmers in the area.

Outside of the case, the Qld Government is pushing ahead with Newman era legal changes to hand coal mining companies the right to take unlimited associated groundwater without obtaining a water license.

More information:

• Farmers' stories
• Landmark Hearing Begins: Farmers Challenge Acland Coal Mine Expansion
• Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates
• Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter, LawAlert


6:00AM, Friday 18 March 2016

Local landholders are getting their chance to cross-examine New Acland Coal on their past performance today.

Neighbouring farmer Tanya Plant has been cross examining New Hope’s former Chief Operating Officer and current strategic advisor Bruce Denney on recently disclosed data on noise and dust exceedances all morning and will likely continue for the rest of the day.

The other objectors are likely to ask their questions of the company witness on Monday with groundwater witnesses to follow and continue for most of the week.

The Land Court is a valuable part of the normal process which allows affected communities to test the evidence of the mining company about the impacts on their land and families.


4:00PM, Thursday 17 March 2016

Today Mr Bruce Denney, former Chief Operating Officer of New Hope Corporation Limited, was cross examined by Saul Holt QC for OCAA about widely varying jobs estimates for Stage 3.

Mr Denney also admitted that if Stage 3 was not approved, NAC has no transition plan for the majority of its workforce.

Mrs Merilyn Plant, local cattle producer, asked Denney why they had done such a limited investigation of health complaints relating to the existing mine. 80 year old Mrs Aileen Harrison also questioned Mr Denney.


 

9:45AM, Thursday 17 March 2016

The cross-examination of Mr Bruce Denney, former Chief Operating Officer of New Hope Corporation Limited, will continue today. Mr Saul Holt QC, for Oakey Coal Action Alliance, will begin at 10:00AM. Other objectors will cross-examine Mr Denney later today.

The court will be closed for some of the morning's questioning, as Mr Denney has claimed that New Acland Coal's costs and other data central to economic assessments are commercial in confidence.


04:00PM, Wednesday 16 March 2016

Former Chief Operating Officer and current Strategic Adviser to New Hope, Mr Bruce Denney, told the court today:

“...there is a school of thought right at the moment that because were the price is at and where costs are at that we may in fact better off leaving coal in the ground because we can mine at lower cost sometime in the future potentially get greater revenue sometime in future”

Mr Denney admitted that only one-third to one-half of the coal from New Acland was the high quality coal, referred to by New Hope as “gold coal”, at around 6300 kcal/kg Gross As Received energy benchmark. The remainder was lower quality coal, what New Hope call “bronze coal”, at around 5800 kcal/kg Gross As Received energy content.

Today in the media:


11:30AM, Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Court will today hear evidence from Mr Bruce Denney, former Chief Operating Officer of New Hope Corporation Limited.

The cross-examination of Mr Denney by barrister Mr Saul Holt QC (pictured, below), for Oakey Coal Action Alliance, will begin around 2:30PM.

Saul Holt


09:00AM, Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Land Court objection to the Acland coal mine will resume today at 10AM. Expert evidence will likely begin today.

The 10 week hearing will run from 16 March to 15th April 2016, followed by a short break. It will resume 9th May to the 14th May 2016.


05:00PM, Wednesday 09 March 2016

Further opening statements will continue in the Queensland Land Court in Brisbane Wednesday 16th March, followed by evidence.


11:30AM, Wednesday 09 March 2016

Landholders are currently treating the Court and parties to a home-baked lunch at the historic Acland ANZAC Park.


08:00AM, Wednesday 09 March 2016

Today the two-day site inspection of the New Acland Coal mine continues.

                                              


05:00PM, Tuesday 08 March 2016

The two-day site inspection is running ahead of schedule. Earlier today parties inspected areas surrounding the mine, (see the video below for recent aerial drone footage of the surrounding area). The Court has requested a night inspection this evening, to assess the impacts of light and noise.


05:00PM, Monday 07 March 2016

Today the Land Court of Queensland heard opening statements from New Acland Coal (NAC), the objectors (including EDO Qld client Oakey Coal Action Alliance), and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Parties will attend a site inspection tomorrow Tuesday 8th March and Wednesday 9th March, which includes the site of the mine and surrounding areas. Further opening statements will continue Wednesday 16th March followed by evidence.


10:00AM, Monday 07 March 2016

EDO Qld CEO Jo-Anne Bragg and client Frank Ashman, farmer and President of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA), talk to reporters this morning as we commence the Land Court objection to the controversial Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland Coal project.

EDO Qld are lawyers for objector OCAA, a community group with more than 60 farmers and residents of the region who do not want the expansion.

Read more...

IMG_0890

IMG_0888


08:30AM, Monday 07 March 2016

Farmers and residents battling to stop the controversial expansion of the New Acland Coal project will begin a landmark case in Queensland’s Land Court today at 10am - 363 George Street, Brisbane - Court Room 40.

Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA), alongside 30 other community objectors, say the proposed expansion of the open cut mine will ruin prime agricultural land, risk precious groundwater, damage community health and put an end to their close-knit community.

The hearings will be held in Brisbane and Dalby with dates for grounds yet to be confirmed.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

Take Action

The latest from EDO Qld

Finally: New mine rehab and financial assurance laws passed in Qld

Natural justice: Time to get tough on environmental crime

Mine Rehab - Let's Get It Right

Factsheet: Accessing government information

Explainer: What is the 'water trigger'?