Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Adani First 'Critical' Mine; No Mine Ever Granted Similar 'Special Powers' in History

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Adani First 'Critical' Mine; No Mine Ever Granted Similar 'Special Powers' in History

Article excerpt

Byline: Emily Smith emily.smith@dailymercury.com.au

NEVER before has the State Government elevated a mining proposal to "critical infrastructure" status.

In fact, few projects have ever received the privilege, the last being the government's own $9 billion south-east water grid seven years ago.

But on Sunday, Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced he had "invoked special powers" to award Adani's Carmichael Coal mine the status, allowing the Coordinator-General to step in and "keep approvals moving" when required.

The project will retain the status for two years.

Along with this benchmark designation, the company had its second-tier 'prescribed project' status renewed and expanded to include water infrastructure.

Currently, 12 projects have a 'prescribed project' status from the Queensland Government.

The point of declaring a project 'prescribed' is to "overcome unreasonable delays" in obtaining approvals.

Mackay Conservation Group spokesman Peter McCallum isn't happy about either title, believing the 'critical infrastructure' designation will remove legitimate objection rights to Adani's infrastructure.

"That's a very unusual thing, for government to call a private project 'critical infrastructure'.

"It's going to have a detrimental effect on some of the democratic processes we have in Queensland," Mr McCallum said.

"For instance, the rights of graziers to challenge water licenses.

"We've seen graziers who have properties nearby to Adani feeling very threatened that their bores may dry up.

"That's something the government has decided they will just leave in the hands of a bureaucrat. And not allow people to have the right to go to court and have an independent decision made about it."

Mr McCallum said he believed the project would now be "outside the realm of the courts", unless it breached the terms of pre-determined rules, like its mining lease or environmental authority. …

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