The delay to the Carmichael coal mine and rail project because of court action by environmentalists is delaying billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs for Queensland.
Rockhampton-based federal MPs Michelle Landry and Matt Canavan said what is basically a bureaucratic error by the Environment Department must be fixed urgently so the project can proceed.
“This is nothing to be celebrated,” Senator Canavan said. “It will cause delays to desperately-needed jobs and investment throughout the region. It’s bureaucracy trumping jobs. It’s a nonsense. We cannot let bureaucracy destroy jobs.”
Ms Landry, Member for Capricornia, said she had telephoned Environment Minister Greg Hunt as soon as the decision was announced this morning and had been assured the problem would be fixed ASAP.
“I want this error to be fixed in weeks, not months,” she said. “This project must go ahead. It’s essential for jobs. What’s been delayed here are billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs for Central and North Queensland.
“Projects like the Carmichael mine and rail project are essential for the economic prosperity of our State. This must be fixed urgently, so communities, workers and families have certainty about future jobs and investment.”
Senator Canavan said it is important to stress there are no environmental issues with the mine and rail project.
“This is a bureaucratic issue about documents. Apparently, there are documents that the Environment Department did not submit to the Minister at the time of his original approval of the mine.
“They relate to two species of reptile – the yakka skink and ornamental snake – and, although there are conditions in the approval to protect these species, the Minister will now formally reconsider the approval.
“Environmental activists have made it clear they will take whatever legal action open to them to try to delay commencement of mining and, in this case, their goal seems to have been achieved.
“This is a technical legal error but the court challenge by environmentalists has been enough to delay investment in this project and cause concern for mining communities, workers and families about their economic future."