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Law Reform · Access to Justice

Qld Govt move to restrict who can object to mining applications

04 March, 2014

EDO Qld are very concerned about the erosion of community appeal rights to proposed mining applications contained in the Mining Lease Notification & Objection Initiative discussion paper

Earlier today the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, released two discussion papers currently open for public comment. The first discussion paper addresses mining lease notifications and objections and the second, restricted land access.

Currently any group or person can object to mining applications, potentially sending the decision to the Land Court. Last week Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney told ABC News this process was “frustrating” for Government.

Mr Cripps stated in today’s media release that the proposed reforms will allow Government to hear from “those who are directly impacted by the development rather than extreme green groups in Melbourne or California whose life goal is to create a road block for economic development”.

EDO Qld observe that the Government has provided no evidence, in the discussion paper or elsewhere, to support the Minister’s assertion that extreme green groups in Melbourne or California have submitted vexatious objections in Queensland.

We also note that the Court already has the power to dismiss frivolous or vexatious claims, but rarely does so as community appeals are typically grounded on legitimate environmental objections. This suggests that any move to limit objection rights is nothing more than a way of restricting the voice of community members with legitimate environmental concerns.

EDO Qld’s Principal Solicitor Jo-Anne Bragg spoke to ABC News last week in anticipation of the proposed changes, voicing grave concerns about the impacts.

"The community … concerned about endangered species, groundwater – they should also be able to object as they can now”, she said.

Submissions close 5.00pm, Friday 28 March and can be made to the Modernising Queensland’s Resources Acts mailbox at mqra@dnrm.qld.gov.au or PO Box 71 Mary Street, Brisbane 4001.

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

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