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Government approves Galilee Basin SDA to farmers’ dismay

Brendan, Nate, Brody, Isleigh and Shontae Moran of Double D Station, Clermont. Photo Kathleen Calderwood / Rural Weekly
Brendan, Nate, Brody, Isleigh and Shontae Moran of Double D Station, Clermont. Photo Kathleen Calderwood / Rural Weekly Kathleen Calderwood

LANDHOLDERS aren't happy, but the State Government says it has worked hard to minimise the impact on them after officially approving the Galilee Basin State Development Area.

Up to 28,000 jobs are expected to be created by the declaration, which supports the development of two multi-use rail corridors that could service six potential mines.

The SDA covers 106,000 hectares and directly affects 74 landholders, far less than the 1.8 million hectares and 1400 landholders affected by the draft plan.

But that is of little comfort to one of the 74 landholders, Shontae Moran, from Double D Station near Clermont.

Ms Moran received the news that the SDA had been approved on Friday afternoon in a phone call that she said made her feel physically sick.

"It's premature, it's unnecessary, and in a time of drought it's a whole other layer of stress we really didn't need," she said.

"We've put off projects for five years not knowing what mining companies are doing.

"Mining is definitely a pillar of the economy that has the potential for strong economic growth, but they shouldn't be doing that at the expense of those already contributing to the economy."

Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney said they had listened to concerns by reducing the SDA's size by 94%.

Resource proponents will be able to access two corridors totalling 690 kilometres, one from the southern and one from the central end of the Basin.

The SDA is about 500 metres wide, but once more detailed rail designs are approved by the Coordinator-General the rail corridor will be reduced to about 60 to 100 metres.

Mr Seeney (above) said while the government was excited about the economic benefits that proposed mines could deliver, it had a commitment to ensure landholders' rights were respected.

"This SDA does not take away the rights of the 74 landholders within the corridors to directly negotiate with resource companies to minimise impacts on day-to-day management of livestock, placement of important infrastructure such as cattle yards, or the effective management of water flow," he said.

"It's important landholders understand where there are property yards, watering facilities or other infrastructure within the SDA. Proponents will be required to either pay compensation to the landowner or relocate that infrastructure to another part of the landholder's property."

The Coordinator-General will soon finalise a development scheme which will set out the objectives of the SDA and assess land use changes and new infrastructure proposals.

Ms Moran is hoping a sunset clause will be included, so if the mines are not advanced in a certain period the SDA expires.

Topics:  galilee basin, state development area




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