Acland mine: Lobby group digs in against water bill

New Hope workers protest proposed new legislation outside Parliament House in Brisbane.
New Hope workers protest proposed new legislation outside Parliament House in Brisbane. Geoff Egan

A LEADING property rights group has called on Queensland MPs to support legislation that mining company New Hope says would cost jobs.

In an open letter to all MPs, Property Rights Australia chairman Dale Stiller said the Underground Water Management bill would impact how regional Queenslanders access water.

The bill is set to be voted on in Queensland Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Stiller said the bill would reintroduce water licences for mines - a requirement the former Newman Government removed.

"How you vote on this bill will have direct, tangible ramifications for many people in regional Queensland and an indirect result for all Queenslanders. This bill goes to the core of fair, equitable access to underground water for all industry sectors," Mr Stiller said.

"The likes of Adani and New Hope Stage three coal mines could have previously applied for a mine de-watering licence. In the unproclaimed Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (WROLA), mining was gifted, at the expense of other water users, unlimited take of 'associated water'."

But New Hope says the bill would force them to apply for a water licence - that could then be challenged in the courts.

At a protest outside Queensland Parliament last week, New Hope chief operating officer Andre Boyd said the New Acland mine would run out of coal before the appeals process was over.

Mr Boyd said he did not have a problem with the goals of the bill or groundwater licences but the interim arrangements for advanced mine projects like New Acland stage three.

Mr Boyd urged the government to change the bill's interim arrangements to allow the New Acland proposal to be exempted.

Mr Stiller's letter said changing the interim procedure was better than risking the whole process.

"If mining project applications in advanced stages for approval are believed to be placed at disadvantage then argument should be directed at amending transitional arrangements rather than scuttling the entire bill," he said.


Topics:  coal new acland new hope politics

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