Galilee Basin State Development Area
The Galilee Basin extends north past Hughenden, south to Charleville and west beyond Winton to Middleton. It covers ~247,000 sq. km. The Queensland government has announced its intention to open up the Galilee Coal Basin and the land in between as a State Development Area. Altogether this looks to affect ~262,000 sq. km.
Ostensibly this is to allow more coordinated planning for coal and gas mining and supporting infrastructure. Up to four rail lines are currently proposed to the coast. It poses a major threat to the viability of the grazing industry in that region as at least 105 properties are affected by the four line proposals with some properties facing a potential two to three lines across their operations. If fully developed there would need to be more than the two coal train lines currently proposed by the Queensland government. The lines cross a large section of flood plains used to fatten cattle following floods, so that is valuable country.
There would be 14 trains a day, each carrying 250,000 tonnes from the Adani North Galilee Basin Rail Project alone, and both Abbot Point and Hay Point ports are being expanded to each handle some 250 million tonnes a year of coal exports.
During non-coal boom times the grazing industry in central Queensland provides as much income to Queensland as the coal industry. Long term grazing is a sustainable industry. Coal and gas are not. There have been no long-term economic, social or environmental analyses as required under the Land Act to demonstrate that the mining is the best option for the state in this proposed state development area when sustainability requirements are considered.
Declaration of State Development Area means there would be only one buyer for a property if it was needed for this coal and gas and associated development. Properties could also be compulsorily acquired. It means sterilisation of much of this region for agriculture and the natural environment as you cannot practice agriculture on a former coal mine site. This has to be one of the biggest land grabs in Queensland history since European settlement. It is hardly in the public interest when a few mining companies will be the main beneficiaries of such an action.