OAKEY GROUP MOVES TO CHALLENGE ACLAND STAGE 3 IN COURT
A local community group, Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA), has launched legal action against the Acland Stage 3 coal expansion on the Darling Downs in Queensland.
The group lodged a formal submission to the project and last week made a final decision to pursue an objection to the damaging New Hope Coal expansion in the Queensland Land Court.
The group is comprised of farmers and residents from the local area and surrounds who will be affected by the proposed mine expansion. Frank and Lynn Ashman are beef cattle stud owners at Brymaroo, on the Downs and Mr Ashman is OCAA president.
“The Acland Stage 3 coal expansion represents a serious threat to our farms, our livelihoods and the health of our local community,” Mr Ashman said.
“We have taken the very difficult step of objecting to the project in the Land Court because of the severe and unacceptable impacts it will have on the environment and our community.
“Our case will be that the expansion should not proceed because of the impacts it will have on many aspects including groundwater resources, important farming land and the health of local families.
“The mine will destroy 1,300 hectares of Strategic Cropping Land located on the fertile soils of our nationally significant food-bowl on the Darling Downs.
“It will cause groundwater aquifers to drop by up to 47 metres in some locations and will leave final holes or ‘voids’ that will cover more than 450 hectares.
“The expansion will worsen air quality for people and farmers surrounding the mine, most of whom are already living with degraded air quality from the current mine.
“We will also contend in court that the costs of this expansion to Queensland far outweigh any public benefits, particularly as mine proponent has estimated that it pays 77 per cent of royalties to itself and only seven per cent to the State Government.”
OCAA will be represented in the Land Court by lawyers from community legal centre, Environmental Defenders Office (Qld).
“Today we’re also calling on people all across Australia to support our local community because we can’t do this alone,” Mr Ashman said.
“We’re asking for our supporters to donate to the Acland fighting fund that has been launched today by Lock the Gate and will be used to support the campaign against this dangerous coal mine.”
People can donate to the fighting fund, launched by Lock the Gate Alliance, for the continued campaign against the Acland Stage 3 coal expansion at: www.lockthegate.org.au/acland_donate
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection must refer objections to the Land Court by the end of this week then the case is expected to begin within about a month.