Government explains wait for Acland approvals
THE State Government has said it is still waiting on final orders from Queensland's Supreme Court of Appeal before granting key approvals for New Acland Coal Mine's Stage 3 project.
Responding to an August 23 letter from Toowoomba and Surat Basin Basin Enterprise CEO Ali Davenport, Annastacia Palaszczuk's deputy chief of staff Denise Spinks said the government was concerned for Acland workers, their families, and the wider community.
"It is regrettable that New Hope, owner of the New Acland Mine, has announced the redundancy of 150 workers when, on the same day, September 17, the Australian Securities Exchange was advised of New Hope recording "its best full year profit", including a net profit after tax of $268 million, and the Chief Executive's remuneration being increased... to $2.188 million," Ms Spinks wrote.
New Hope earlier this year set a September 1 deadline by which it needed its outstanding New Acland Stage 3 approvals, otherwise it would have to begin making workers redundant.
The company is still waiting on key approvals.
"The Queensland Government is concerned for the workers, their families and the community, who will be affected by New Hope's decision to proceed with redundancies," Ms Spinks said.
"Queensland Government agencies have been working diligently with the company to finalise significant approvals for the Stage 3 expansion as quickly as possible.
"However, as you may know, Queensland's Supreme Court of Appeal has recently issued draft orders regarding previous court decisions and it has been advised that, until the judicial process is complete, grant of mining leases for Stage 3 would likely be subject to further legal challenge and could be found invalid."
Ms Spinks said this view was shared by New Hope, pointing to a September 10 ASX statement advising "the company is pleased with the outcome and will wait for the court to make its final orders before assessing the next steps for the New Acland Stage 3 project".
"As soon as there is adequate certainty from the court process, the appropriate approvals will be granted," she said.
The mine is seeking approvals for Stage 3's mining lease, associated water licence, and continued use of the Jondaryan rail facility on a transitional basis.
It is a process that has been tied up in a series of legal battles with the Oakey Coal Action Alliance since it first sought approvals 12 years ago.