Next steps for the Carmichael coal and rail project

A number of statutory obligations and outstanding legal issues remain to be addressed before I can consider granting the Carmichael coal project mining leases.

The Palaszczuk Government has consistently maintained its support for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin for the jobs and economic development it can deliver.

For the proponent, and the people of regional Queensland looking for growth and jobs, the granting of an environmental authority by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection yesterday is a welcome sign of progress on a potential major project.

However, it is critical that any project be dealt with not just efficiently but robustly in accordance with statutory requirements.

Commonwealth parliamentarians would be very aware of this need after their colleague Environment Minister was forced to re-make his decision on the mine and rail environmental impact statement late last year.

Legislation requires that, before I can consider granting a lease, Adani must finalise compensation agreements with remaining landholders, and with local government for affected road reserves under the footprint of the leases.

In the meantime, I am taking detailed and careful advice on the next steps for the project.
To date this has included the advice that before I consider granting the lease, it would be appropriate for me to consider the certainty it would give government and Adani of having a High Court decision on a current application for judicial review of the key decision by the National Native Title Tribunal on the granting of the mining leases.

Although not related to the granting of the mining lease, a number of other matters are still ongoing with related parts of the proposed project. For example, Adani needs to negotiate one remaining Indigenous Land Use Agreement with native title holders.

Other outstanding issues include approvals for power, water, roadworks and airport.

The independent Coordinator-General and my departments of State Development and Natural Resources and Mines continue to work with Adani, and the several other proponents in the Galilee Basin, to facilitate and help progress their projects.

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