Malcolm Turnbull answered two sets of questions during his visit to Rockhampton today that were related to court action holding up major projects like Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland.
Malcolm Turnbull answered two sets of questions during his visit to Rockhampton today that were related to court action holding up major projects like Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland. Chris Ison ROK271016cpm7

PM says 'lawfare' legislation back on the agenda

THE Prime Minister indicated the Federal Government would again attempt to introduce two lots of legalisation to prevent anti-mine groups holding up projects in the courts, termed 'lawfare'.

Malcolm Turnbull answered two sets of questions during his visit to Rockhampton today that were related to court action holding up major projects like Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland.

One of the questions related to CFMEU actions that hold back mines.

The other was about a topic that Central Queensland mayors have been talking about for months, the need for state and federal governments to introduce legislation to stop vexatious litigation aimed at delaying mining projects.

 

On Wednesday the mayors of several regional Queensland regions called on all state and federal politicians to support Adani's Charmichael Coal Mine.

In an open letter, the mayors and business representatives, including Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow, said the project cannot afford any "new roadblocks or delays including new water legislation that activists can exploit in new court appeals to kill this project".

Prime Minister Turnbull told the media today that the Federal Government would again introduce legislation to tackle the issue of endless court cases holding up projects.

"As you know, we bought some legislation before the Senate through the parliament in the last parliament which was rejected by the Senate," he said.

"We are looking at the issue again."

Mr Turnbull said the Federal Government does not want to short cut environmental issues.

"We don't want to short change the environment but what we do need to do is make decisions in a prompt and efficient way," he said.

"The fact is it can sometimes take decades to get approvals through. It's just taking too long.

"Developer after developer, investor after investor says to us 'look, we'd rather have a quick no than 10 years of no decision."

Mr Turnbull said there was too much delay and too much red tape for such projects.

"We've cut quite a bit out but there's more to go," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull said the Federal Government would also be trying to have industrial relations legislation, the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 passed through parliament again.

He said the CFMEU's actions were defying the law on building construction sites right across Australia and it added enormous costs to every project the union got involved with.

Mr Turnbull even went as far as saying it cost companies about 30% more overall because of CFMEU's actions.

"Judge after judge, in case after case describes the culture of lawlessness of the CFMEU, the way they treat the fines like parking tickets, you can see the union's flushed with cash," he said.

"That's how they back the Labor Party.

Mr Turnbull said there were 113 officials before the courts right now for more than 1100 breaches of industrial law.

"What we are asking is no more than that the Senate support the restoration of the rule of law for the construction and building industry," he said.

"It's about time.

"We've passed the Bill through the lower house. We took it to the election. We won the election. It's time for the Senate to pass it and then we can make some real progress."



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