The Queensland Resources Council called on state and federal governments to close legal loopholes that enable activists to disrupt and delay job-creating resource sector projects, while potentially leaving taxpayers to foot the legal bills.
Seven years after the Queensland government declared the $10 billion Alpha Coal Mine a “significant project”, multiple appeals by activist groups have halted the remote Queensland project by up to another nine months. This is the fourth court action by green activists to delay GVK/Hancock projects.
QRC CEO Michael Roche said the time had expired for governments to sit on their hands and allow the blatant flaunting of the legal system by the activists to disrupt and delay important projects.
“Current flaws across the legal system enable activists to repeatedly launch vexatious litigation against industry projects,” he said.
But Lock the Gate Spokeswoman Carmel Flint questioned why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was pursuing an “anti-democratic removal of checks and balances for damaging mining projects”
“Is the Prime Minister seriously pursuing a crackdown on basic legal rights for farming communities that have their water resources affected by large scale coal mining projects?” she said.
“Does he not believe that access to the courts to test ministerial decisions is a fundamental check and balance to prevent misuse of the law by ministers that are a little too eager to wave mining projects through the approval process, regardless of the impact on the land and precious water resources?”
Lock the Gate Alliance said it praised the ALP and Green members of the committee who have published dissenting reports, and urged cross-bench senators not to support the government's agenda of removing legal rights to review the legal process for mining approvals in the court.