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Our Successes · Access to Justice

Queenslanders’ rights to object to mining projects restored

26 May, 2016

After months of hard work with government, communities and groups, EDO Qld helped the State Government deliver an election promise to restore landholder and community objection rights to mines on major projects on 17 July 2015. These rights are vital to the public interest where the costs and benefits of major projects are scrutinised by the people in an independent court of law.

EDO Qld welcomed the restoration of landholder and community objection rights to mines on major projects in Parliament on 17 July 2015 (State Development and Public Works Organisation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015).

EDO Qld, alongside many other community organisations, worked tirelessly to restore these rights. This included working closely with the State Government to ensure its election promise to do this was delivered shortly after gaining office.

EDO Qld CEO Jo Bragg said: “Community objection rights are crucially important in the public interest so the costs and benefits of projects with huge impacts could be debated and tested in the independent Land Court. In turn, this ensures the best environmental, economic and social outcomes from such projects.”

As a result, objection rights to the Land Court for environmental impacts of the New Hope Stage 3 mine expansion for EDO Qld’s rural client Oakey Coal Action Alliance were restored. Our client won that case when the Land Court, for the first-time in its history, recommended the outright refusal of the coal project’s expansion on the Darling Downs.

In another case, Adani’s own economic witness conceded the Carmichael coal project would produce less than a fifth of the 10,000 net jobs promised.

The changes are the first step in restoring public objection rights on all mining projects across Queensland. Looking ahead, more legislation needs to be passed to fully restore public objection rights as this Bill only dealt with ‘coordinated’ or major projects.

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

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