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Minister Sussan Ley will soon make her ruling on Clive Palmer’ proposed Central Queensland Coal project

Courier Mail, 14 August 2021

With more than 400 new coal mining jobs hanging in the balance, Senator Pauline Hanson applied the pressure and she got a result.

Darryn Nufer

August 14, 2021 – 4:00AM

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley. Picture by Luke Marsden.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has agreed to visit the site of a proposed new coal mine between Rockhampton and Mackay before making her ruling on its future.

The key development follows recent pressure from Senator Pauline Hanson who said Central Queensland’s coal mining future was again under a cloud of uncertainty and the approval of any new mine had become a “political hot potato.”

Clive Palmer’s proposed Central Queensland Coal project is a greenfield development located in the Styx Basin, about 130km north-west of Rockhampton.

If approved, the completed project would produce up to 10 million tonnes per annum of semi-soft coking coal and high-grade thermal coal from an open-cut mine for 18 years.

The Central Queensland Coal application now rests in the hands of the Federal Environment Minister after the Queensland Government rejected an application to recommence coal mining in the historic coalfields near Ogmore.

Senator Hanson invited Ms Ley to inspect the site before making her decision on the future of the proposed mine, which would support 250 jobs during the initial construction phase, followed by 167 direct, full-time roles once operational.

Senator Pauline Hanson. Photo Mark Cranitch.

In written correspondence, Ms Ley told the One Nation leader: “As agreed, I will be visiting the proposed mine site with you prior to making a decision and my office will liaise with yours on a mutually agreeable date.

“The statutory clock has been stopped with the agreement of the company.

“Due to current COVID-19 restrictions in place by the Queensland Government the visit will be arranged when it is appropriate to do so and in accordance with public health directions

Ms Ley also said in her letter to Ms Hanson that the Central Queensland Coal project was in the final stages of assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“My Department is currently finalising its advice in relation to environmental impacts and risks to matters of national environmental significance including to the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Ley said.

Ms Hanson said she had spent a lot of time in the Marlborough region, helping locals to overturn the compulsory acquisition orders made by the Federal Government to buy up farming land for defence operations.

“The people of Ogmore and Marlborough see the value in the project going ahead, and after taking an aerial and on-ground tour myself, I can see exactly why locals not only support the project but are angered by the State Government’s approach to try and knock it on the head,” Ms Hanson said.

“I picked up the phone and simply said this project is too important to Central Queensland to allow bureaucrats to make the final determination.

“The Minister agreed and has given me written assurance that her decision will only be made after inspecting the proposed mine site herself.”

Central Queensland Coal is expected to inject $8.2 billion into the local and state economy while contributing $1 billion in Commonwealth taxes and $760 million in state royalties.