Oct 06, 2020

New Acland in limbo as court decision reserved

New Acland in limbo as   court decision reserved These yellow figures represent 175 jobs lost in the past year due to delays in the Stage 3 extension approval, while $60 million worth of machinery is parked up. Photo: Peter Turnbull

The High Court has reserved its decision in an appeal which has been hanging over the future of New Acland thermal coal mine, north-west of Oakey.

The court is ruling on an appeal from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance in relation to a Queensland Court of Appeal decision in 2019.

New Hope Group chief operating officer Andrew Boyd said the High Court may take some time to hand down a decision on the appeal.

“Last week the Premier stated that the outcome of the High Court appeal would be known this week. That would be a great outcome but it is unlikely,” he said.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham has consistently reiterated the State Government’s position to await the conclusion of legal action before finalising approvals for the New Acland Stage 3 project.

State Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has said the LNP would approve this project if voted in at the upcoming Queensland election.

Mr Boyd said regardless of the High Court decision, Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk had proven the approvals process was not tied to court proceedings.

“By approving Olive Downs last week, the Premier has demonstrated the Government’s willingness to grant approvals for resource projects in circumstances where court proceedings exist,” Mr Boyd said.

“The Olive Downs project is subject to a judicial review in the Supreme Court and yet the Premier proclaimed it good to go.

“This is great news for Olive Downs and also means the Minister is able to make a decision on New Acland Stage 3.”

New Hope says the New Acland Stage 3 extension would create 487 new jobs within 18 months of approvals and provide more than $7 billion in economic benefit to the state.