Current Court Cases · Access to Justice

Acland Court of Appeal review

03 March, 2019

EDO Qld and Barristers Saul Holt QC and Dr Chris McGrath represented Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc (OCAA) at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Brisbane on 27 February 2019 to 1 March 2019. The appeal seeks to overturn the 2018 Supreme Court decision that would see groundwater impacts no longer allowed to be considered in some mining objection hearings. 

Update March 2019:

EDO Qld and Barristers Saul Holt QC and Dr Chris McGrath represented Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc (OCAA) at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Brisbane on 27 February 2019 to 1 March 2019.

This appeal follows the Land Court’s historic decision in 2017 to recommend refusal of New Acland Coal Pty Ltd’s (NAC’s) proposed Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland Coal mine, and the Supreme Court’s judicial review of the Land Court’s decision decided in 2018.

OCAA’s appeal is to overturn part of the Supreme Court’s decision so as to restore its win in the Land Court, where it was recommended that the mine’s proposed expansion be refused.

Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc. asked the Supreme Court of Appeal to determine whether the Land Court has jurisdiction to consider groundwater when hearing mining objections under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and the Environmental Protection Act 1994

Predicted groundwater impacts of the Stage 3 expansion were a key reason for the Land Court recommending refusal, but the Supreme Court then decided groundwater was not a relevant consideration of the Land Court objections hearing.

New Acland Coal Pty Ltd argued, amongst other things, that a fair-minded lay observer might reasonably apprehend from the Land Court’s reasons that the Land Court Member might have been affected by bias against NAC.

No further comments will be made as this matter is still before the Court.

Update September 2018:

Barrister Dr Chris McGrath, supported by EDO Qld, appeared at the review hearing in the Court of Appeal on 5 September 2018. A number of procedural dates were set in preparation for the hearing for the appeal and cross appeal listed for 27-28 February 2019.

Update August 2018:
EDO Qld client Oakey Coal Action Alliance has filed written submissions to the the Court of Appeal in relation to the Acland case. This appeal seeks to overturn the 2018 Supreme Court decision that would see groundwater impacts no longer allowed to be considered in some mining objection hearings. A review is expected in September.
Update July 2018:
OCAA has filed written submissions on 25 July 2018. The parties are in Court for a review of the matter in September 2018 (date TBC). This matter will run concurrently with the remitted hearing in the Land Court.
Read more: The drain on Acland farmers
Update June 2018:

On 13 June 2018, New Acland Coal Pty Ltd filed its contention to OCAA’s appeal in the Queensland Court of Appeal on multiple grounds.

OCAA file appeal to Supreme Court decision
EDO Qld client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) appealed to the Court of Appeal against the expansion of the controversial New Acland Coal (NAC) mine in prime agricultural land on the Darling Downs on 30 May 2018.
EDO Qld client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) appealed to the Court of Appeal against the expansion of the controversial New Acland Coal (NAC) mine in prime agricultural land on the Darling Downs.

The appeal relates to a 2018 Supreme Court decision that would see groundwater impacts no longer allowed to be considered in some mining objection hearings.

NAC’s mine expansion application first commenced in 2007 and was rejected by the Newman government in 2012, stating it was ‘inappropriate’ to expand the mine in the State’s southern food bowl.

A revised application lodged in 2015 was recommended for refusal by the Land Court in 2017 following a 99-day hearing which found that, among other things:

  1. the land around Acland was amongst the best 1.5% of agricultural land in Queensland;
  2. there were major shortcomings with the groundwater impact predictions, such that the Stage 3 should not proceed given the risks to the surrounding landholders; and
  3. a stricter night time noise limit should be applied than that currently proposed.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) followed the Land Court’s recommendation to refuse the environmental approval on 14 February 2018. In June 2017 the mining company applied to the Supreme Court for a judicial review of the Land Court decision.

 

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

Take Action

The latest from EDO Qld

Your future. Our future. Hope for climate justice.

Help curb corruption in local governments

Saving koalas starts with saving their habitat - now

Have your say: Improving Queensland's environmental offsets

Ecotourism in national parks – A bad development?