Emma Boughen

Government and mine clash on cropping land figures

NEW Hope Group cannot verify its claim the New Acland expansion will impact less than half the strategic cropping land initially expected.

Nor can the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries verify the claim.

The company's claim that DAF has data showing the New Acland Coal Mine stage three project could impact 509ha of strategic cropping land has come as a surprise to the department.

New Hope said the information was in DAF's possession.

But it is understood DAF does not assess strategic cropping land and DAF referred APN Newsdesk to the Coordinator-General's office and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

New Hope claims the figure in the Department of State Development Coordinator-General's report is incorrect.

The report states project works would impact about 1361ha of strategic cropping land.

This was also the figure submitted to the department in the project's environmental impact statement.

A spokesman for the Coordinator-General's office maintained 1361ha of strategic cropping land would be impacted.

"The estimated (strategic cropping land) amount was provided by the proponent in public documents released during the EIS process," he said.

"The project's actual impacts on (strategic cropping land) would be further assessed by the Department of Local Government, Infrastructure and Planning as part of a Regional Interests Development Application under the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014."

More than 20 conservation groups sent joint letters to Queensland MPs last week urging them to oppose the project.

One of their arguments was that it would destroy prime agricultural land.

New Hope said since the initial 2007 project application the project had been through two EIS processes, two additional information and response to submissions periods, and five public comment opportunities.

- APN NEWSDESK


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