Conservation groups have hit out at the Queensland government after deputy premier Jeff Seeney announced plans to stop ideological objections to mining.
Conservation groups are furious at Queensland government plans to stop ideological objections to mining projects in the state.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says it’s “frustrating” that anyone with a fundamental objection to coal mining can see a project sent to Land Court and delay the process.
“The people of Queensland have elected us as a government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that,” he told ABC radio.
The state government will soon release a discussion paper to decide who can object to applications.
Major projects would be open to anyone, but smaller ones would have different requirements, Mr Seeney said.
“What we’re looking at is a process that will have an assessment process that is relative to the risk the project poses,” he said.
But the anti-mining lobby group, Lock the Gate Alliance, along with other groups, has condemned the move, describing it as “despicable”.
“Once again the LNP government is trying to curb the democratic rights of Queenslanders,” alliance president Drew Hutton said.
“The Newman government and his bully-boy Jeff Seeney are trying to stop ordinary people and communities from protecting themselves against multi-millionaires in the mining industries that are trying to make a quick buck and move on.”
Mr Hutton used the New Hope Coal Mine at Acland, near the Darling Downs, as an example saying locals were already being impacted but now they would be forced to just tolerate the project.
The mine wants to expand to export up to 7.4 million tonnes of coal a year.
“Some of the largest mining projects in the world are being proposed in Queensland in the next few years and everyone should have a say in whether they should go ahead,” Mr Hutton said.
Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney said the deputy premier was not alone in his frustration.
“We’re frustrated at the way the state government seems to be giving a quick and big tick to nearly every extraction proposal that comes across its desk,” he told AAP.
“Democracy is frustrating. The challenge for our government is to deal with a diverse range of views.”
Mr Sweeney said the move was the start of a “slippery slope” that would give big mining companies with vested economic interests a bigger say than conservation groups concerned about the environment or residents concerned about their communities.