The Chronicle

New Hope case date set down


OFFICIALS from the Land Court will tour the New Acland mine and nearby farmland on October 26 ahead of a new round of hearings set to start on October 27. The appeal will focus on the Oakey Coal Action Alliance concerns that the stage three expansion of New Hope Groups Acland coal mine will create excessive noise and dust. The OCAA is expected to make a second, separate appeal that focuses on its concerns that the expanded mine would adversely affect groundwate­r. The Land Court will hold four days of hearings at the Toowoomba Courthouse before it returns to Brisbane for the remainder of the matters. The parties were before the Land Court in Brisbane yesterday where lawyers for OCAA asked for a brief extension to October 21 to file updated air quality data. The hearing is the latest chapter in the OCAA’s seven year fight to squash the expansion.

More than 30 objections were made by farmers and landholder groups to the revised Stage Three proposal when it was publicly advertised in 2015.

Those complaints came from 12 active objectors who launched the initial proceeding­s in the Land Court.

They cited their concerns for groundwate­r depletion, noise, air quality, that economic benefits of the mine were overstated, loss of agricultur­al land being contrary to intergener­ational equity and prejudice to the public interest.

This led to one of the longest court cases in Land Court’s history after it sat for more than 100 days, examining about 2000 exhibits and hearing from 66 witnesses.

While the farmers won this case the New Hope Group appealed the decision which has since triggered waves of cross appeals.

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