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Campbell Newman is the Premier of Queensland.
Newman and coal
Following his election to parliament and appointment as Premier in early 2012 Newman announced that the government would not allow the doubling of one coal mine or the establishment of a proposed coal-to-liquids project due to their impact on agricultural land. New Hope Corporation had proposed to expand the New Acland mine, located approximately 150 kilometres west of Brisbane, from 5 million tonnes a year to 10 million tonnes a year of thermal coal. The expansion of the mine, Newman stated, was "inappropriate". A spokeswoman for the Liberal National Party (LNP) told The Australian that "the LNP don't support open-cut coalmining on strategic cropping land anywhere in the state ... The LNP will not support the proposal for Acland stage three (because) it covers some areas of strategic cropping land, and would come too close to local communities." A spokesman for New Hope said that "we will continue to work with the new LNP government" but would not say whether they aimed to gain approval for an amended proposal. (In its April quarterly activities report for the quarter, New Hope stated only that "submission of the supplementary EIS has been delayed from the planned submission date of mid April 2012 due to ongoing discussions being held with the new Co-ordinator General."
While stating his opposition to the two projects, Newman supported the approval of the Wandoan mine. "Wandoan is a different matter," he told ABC radio. "This has been approved by the previous government, it's now been upheld by the court generally and frankly the project's going to go ahead."
"We are in the coal business."
Following the release of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report cautioning that the establishment and expansion of ports for coal and other projects could lead to the Great Barrier Reef being added to the 'In Danger' list, Newman stated that while concerned about the impact of port developments on the reef "we are not going to see the economic future of Queensland shut down ... We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat we all need to understand that," he said. "Very clearly there needs to be a proper strategy, orderly progression of these developments. We shouldn't be building a multitude of new ports and we won't be."
After prominent reporting of his "we are in the coal business" comment, the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell issued a media statement titled "Newman government taking care of the Great Barrier Reef". The opening paragraph of the release stated that "Powell has reinforced the Newman Government’s commitment to protecting the world’s largest living organism."
Climate science scepticism
Speaking at a media conference at which Andrew Powell was questioned about his views on climate science, Newman stated that "I mean the sea-level rise predictions have changed constantly over the last 15 years and I think that's what he's saying," Mr Newman said. "(Mr Powell's) saying something that a Labor Minister would never have had to the honesty to say - we don't know what the impacts are precisely."
Newman himself was then asked whether he believed humans were responsible for climate change. "In terms of what the precise impacts will be of climate change anybody who says they know is having a lend of you." He told reporters that it was "refreshing" Mr Powell was "prepared to tell the truth".
Articles and resources
- New Hope Corporation, "Acland", New Hope Corporation website, accessed June 2012.
- Natasha Bita, "Campbell Newman slams farm gate shut on miners", The Australian, March 29, 2012.
- New Hope Corporation, "Quarterly Activities Report: 30 April 2012", May 2012, page 4.
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, "World Heritage Committee: Thirty-sixth session Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation, 24 June – 6 July 2012: Item 7B of the Provisional Agenda: State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List", June 1, 2012, pages 23-28.
- Stephanie Peatling and Rachel Browne, "Queensland puts coal before coral", Sydney Morning Herald, June 3, 2012.
- Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, The Honourable Andrew Powell, "Newman government taking care of the Great Barrier Reef", Media Release, June 2, 2012.
- Koren Helbig, "Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell is a climate change sceptic", Courier Mail, June 05, 2012.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Graham Readfearn, "Premier Newman Can Do Climate Science Denial", Graham Readfearn (blog), June 5, 2012.