The New Acland coal mine in Queensland has endured 15 years of legal battles, with the fight continuing over the weekend.
New Acland recently launched a recruitment drive for the mine, located near Toowoomba in southern Queensland, prompting environmental groups to launch fresh legal action.
The proposed expansion of the mine was approved by the Queensland Government in August 2022, and an associated water licence was granted under the Water Act last October.
The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water said the licence was subject to 35 strict conditions, including requirements to monitor and manage the impact on aquifers and groundwater, publish the volume of water they take and to offset the impacts by surrendering other water entitlements.
Oakey Coal Action Alliance spokesman Paul King said the group does not think the water licence should have been being awarded.
“We’re seeking it (the internal review) because we think it’s an appalling decision,” he said.
“The only way for the decision to be examined is to apply for an internal review and see if that can be changed so farmers come out on top.”
However, New Acland coal mine general manager Dave O’Dwyer said he was confident the potential impact of the mine expansion had been adequately considered under the current associated water licence.
“The (Queensland) Government has gone through it, the various bureaucrats have gone through, and the departments have gone through and done all the checks and balances and issues with our approval,” he said.
“So we’ll move ahead and keep going with that and any action that occur or any other objectives they have now is between them and the Government.
“That’s really all covered on the associated boarding licence application that we put in and the studies that were done.
“The modelling that was done … was reviewed by various bodies; I think there’s six or seven different groups have reviewed it.
“It’s gone through various departments, and CSIRO has been across it.
“So that process was really about making sure that the work that we do doesn’t affect the work that they (farmers) do.
“And we’re very confident in that process.”