15 November, 2021
Land Court continues with focus on noise, dust pollution
The Land Court battle between New Acland Mine and Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) entered its third week on Monday with the proceedings centred on hearing from expert witnesses and a small group of local people and mine employees with first-hand knowledge of past and current New Acland operations.
Land Court Member Peta Stilgoe OAM is overseeing the proceedings which commenced in Toowoomba on October 26 and were followed by a site inspection on October 27.
The hearing moved to Brisbane on November 1.
New Acland general manager Dave O’Dwyer, Acland resident Glenn Beutel and former resident Aileen Harrison are the locally-connected people who have already given evidence to the hearing.
Other people questioned as part of the Land Court proceedings were expert witnesses.
As the second Land Court hearing for Stage 3, it is significantly scaled down compared to the first hearing with active objector OCAA and non-active objectors Mr Beutel and Ms Harrison, the only parties contesting the application.
This is compared to the 17 level one and ten level two objectors to the mining lease application in 2016.
The number of issues these parties have with the project has also decreased with the only grounds under debate including:
- the alleged unsatisfactory past performance of New Acland Mine in regards to noise and dust pollution; and
- the concerns that New Acland will not comply with future relevant conditions in relation to dust and noise levels.
OCAA initially indicated that it would be raising groundwater concerns in the Land Court but has since removed the issue from the objection list.
Early predictions show that a finding will be released in February or March 2022.
Member Stilgoe OAM will consider whether the Stage 3 mining lease and Environmental Authority should be recommended for approval.
The conclusion will be handed to the State Govern-ment which will have to make the final decision on New Acland Stage 3.