NQCC in Court over Kevin’s Corner

Between 19 and 30 October, NQCC was at the Land Court in Brisbane as an objector in the matter of Galilee Coal Pty Ltd v Bruce Bede Currie and others. Galilee Coal Pty Ltd is owned by the Indian GVK Group.

We were objecting to the approval of Galilee Coal’s Kevin’s Corner mine, 160 km west of Emerald in the Galilee Basin, by the Queensland Government. As a level 3 objector, NQCC was able to attend the hearing, give opening and closing addresses, call evidence, cross-examine witnesses and put in a final submission. Cross-examination of witnesses for NQCC was conducted by Kathryn Kelly, assisted by Wendy Tubman.

Our objection focused on our claim that the Environmental Impact Statement and the Supplementary EIS failed to deliver a cumulative impact assessment of the proposed mine. A CIA was one of the requirements of the Terms of Reference for the EIS as laid down by the Coordinator General. It was argued that the Environment Protection Act and the Mineral resources Act implicitly required an assessment of cumulative impacts.

The task facing the Land Court was to make a recommendation on the grant of a mining lease or environmental authority. These two items are required in order for the proponent to commence mining following the approval by the State government.

The Kevin’s Corner Land Court hearing was before His Honour Member Cochrane.

Other objectors in the case were Mr Bruce Currie, a landowner in the district, Coast and Country Association of Queensland (CCAQ) and Mackay Conservation Group (Level 2 objector, so not able to question witnesses or address the court).

Mr Currie expressed his concern that there was no certainty that his bore water (on which his home and property depended) would not be negatively affected by the drawdown of water for the Kevin’s Corner mine.

The arguments made on behalf of CCAQ related to the economic assessment of the proposed mine, specifically the fact that it relied on input-output modelling (a technique that has been rejected by the Productivity Commission and others) and the groundwater assessments.

Member Cochrane is expected to bring down his recommendations within 4-8 weeks. Such recommendations are not open to appeal but can be subjected to Judicial review in the Federal Court.

Detailed comments on the case are constrained by the principle of sub judice.

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  • Wendy Tubman