Queensland has passed a controversial Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014, which will prevent environmental groups from opposing proposed mining projects.
While passing the legislation, Queensland Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said: "The Queensland Government is implementing a more streamlined, efficient mining lease notification and objection process to reduce red tape and provide greater certainty to both landholders and resources companies.
"The amendments ensure that a mining project is subject to objection and notification processes that take into account the size, risk and impact of the proposed operation.
"Too often we see alarmist green groups submit deliberately distorted and misrepresented objections to proposals in attempt to shutdown the resources sector and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports.
"These types of objections stall the application process, hinder economic development and deny Queenslanders potentially billions of dollars of royalties that could be put back into building hospitals, schools and road infrastructure."
Cripps has, however, said that the landholders affected by mining activities and their direct neighbours will have the right to object to low-impact mining proposals under the new law. Labour opposition, minor parties and the green groups such as the Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA) are dismayed by the government’s new rule.
BSA chair David Hamilton said: "We acknowledge that the government, at the eleventh hour, decided to include a vital amendment that allows adjoining landholders notification and objection rights, but we still don’t feel the government has appropriately considered the impacts mining developments can have on the businesses, health and liveability of neighbours, who don’t technically adjoin the mine, and the surrounding community.
"There should be public notification and objection rights available to anyone who has a legitimate concern about proposed mining activity. We should not have had this right taken away. It is not adequate that we are only able to have a say in the conditions of some mines."