MEDIA RELEASE: 13th August
A Parliamentary Inquiry into the Galilee Basin State Development Area (SDA) has thrown doubt over Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney’s plans for rail lines from proposed coal mines in central Queensland to the Abbot Point terminal.
The Queensland government declared the Galilee Basin State Development Area in June so it had the power to buy up property for the coal rail lines.
‘The SDA fails to meet the basic legal test of being in the public interest and should be immediately withdrawn,’ said Dr Moira Williams of the Mackay Conservation Group.
The majority of landholders in the State Development Areaare opposed to it’s declaration and the SDA has now been referred to the State Development Infrastructure and Industry Committee to scrutinise its legality.
‘The SDA is an abuse of power and totally unnecessary. There are existing provisions in the legislation that allow for compulsory acquisition of land to build the rail lines,’ said Ms Williams.
‘It is a heavy handed approach that removes critical protections for landholders in the negotiation process, such as the requirement to negotiate in good faith.’
‘Proponents are yet to gain environmental approvals for their rail projects and have not been required to demonstrate that the projects will proceed in a reasonable timeframe. This leaves landholders in limbo, stuck in a costly and time consuming negotiation process.’
‘We are concerned that the Queensland government is abusing the policy process in order to attract investment in speculative Galilee projects.’
‘Farmers are facing the loss of their farms because Seeney is playing favourites with the mining industry, sidestepping proper approvals and doing the mining companies’ dirty work for them.’
‘Given there are other legal options for acquiring land to build the rail corridors, the Queensland government has failed to justify why the SDA is necessary or in the public interest. It should be revoked,’ said Dr Williams.
Submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry close Thursday 14th August at 4pm. The Committee will deliver a report on the outcomes by the end of October
For more information about the inquiry click here.
You can view Mackay Conservation Group's submission to the inquiry here.