New Hope welcomes start of Land Court process
4 November 2015
New Hope Group’s Managing Director Shane Stephan welcomes today’s first direction hearing of the land court process for New Acland revised stage 3 plan in the Dalby Magistrates Court.
The revised plan, which has been subject to the development of a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), was issued a draft Environmental Approval (EA) from the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on the 28 August.
“As per usual statutory processes for approvals, public submissions were sought on the draft EA and Mining Lease Applications."
“Those submitters were invited to turn their submissions into objections and those objections and the project now enter the land court process as part of the approvals process” Mr Stephan said.
“It’s been a long process getting to this point, not just for the company but for the 275 current full time local employees and 507 contractors whose livelihoods depend on it.
“This start to the process should bring some relief to them that things are finally moving.”
Since the initial application for the project in 2007 under the Beattie Government (it then progressed through the successive Bligh and Newman Governments) and prior to the release of the Coordinator General’s report in December 2014, the project has been through not just one, but two EIS processes, two additional information and response to submissions periods, and four public comment opportunities.
“Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General approved the Acland Coal Mine continuation plan following extensive revision of the original proposal, which resulted in a substantial reduction of the operation’s footprint and potential impacts.
“The Coordinator-General imposed 137 conditions on the project and the New Hope Group have made some 890 commitments as part of that approval.
“The project has also been through the Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
“This type of scrutiny is exceptional for such a project in Queensland – and possibly in Australia.
“Because of this I am confident that the project will hold up to all scrutiny in the land court process and we look forward to providing security to the 275 current full time local employees and 507 contractors.” Mr Stephen concluded.
Key benefits of this continued project include operational employment of approximately 435 people during the peak operational phase and total economic impact to the economy of an estimated $12.5 billion over the life of the project, (till 2029).
Up to a further 260 jobs would be created during peak construction phase and the flow-on jobs and benefits will be substantial.
“Stage three of New Acland will also boost social benefits and economic activity in the area through direct and indirect employment, investment and business opportunities – acting as an ongoing spur to the Darling Downs economy,” Mr Stephan said.
History of the NAC3 project
In March 2012, following concerns from the State and community on the initial form of the project, New Hope then embarked on a major program to listen and address the concerns of the community and State Government relating to the original proposal. This resulted in the current Stage 3 plan which represents a very significant compromise on the original plan.
It is this compromise plan that was approved by the Coordinator-General in December 2014.
The Mine, which has been in operation since 2002 and currently employs about 300 local people, would close in 2018 if the continuation is not granted.
The New Hope Group is an Australian controlled and operated diversified energy company which has been proudly based in South East Queensland for more than 60 years.