Galilee rail zone reduced by 94 per cent
The State Government has taken the next step in unlocking the resource-rich Galilee Basin and creating up to 28,000 Queensland jobs by officially declaring the Galilee Basin State Development Area. After extensive consultation, Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General has made the declaration to support the development of two multi-use rail corridors that could service up to six potential mines. Labor was set to allow each one of these operators to build their own rail line to the coast creating a 2,600-kilometre spaghetti of rail tracks that would have crossed thousands of Galilee Basin properties. We have told resource proponents they can access just two corridors totalling 690 kilometres – one from the southern and one from the central end of the Basin.
This declaration delivers on our government’s commitment to properly plan in a coordinated way for the development of coal mines and associated infrastructure in the Galilee, while minimising potential impacts on land owners, regional communities and the environment.
We have listened and responded to landholder concerns by reducing the size of this development area by 94 per cent - making the final State Development Area less than one-tenth the size of the area originally proposed.
The State Development Area announced today 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.
And there will be further reductions to come. Currently the State Development Area is around 500 metres wide, however once more detailed rail line designs are finalised and approved by the Coordinator-General, the rail corridor will be reduced to about 60 to 100 metres wide.
We promised to deliver better infrastructure and planning, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in the Galilee Basin.
Now that the State Development Area has been declared, the State Government’s focus will be to ensure directly-affected landholders are treated fairly and with respect, and impacts on their day-to-day operations are minimised.
I have said all along that while our government is excited about the 28,000 potential jobs and economic benefits that proposed Galilee Basin mines could deliver, we have a genuine commitment to ensure landholders rights are respected as these projects are developed.
This State Development Area 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.
Resource companies will be subject to strict environmental conditions set by the Coordinator-General, which includes detailed flood conditioning.
An experienced Landholder Liaison Manager has been appointed to assist landholders with the declaration of the State Development Area.
In a Queensland-first, the Coordinator-General has appointed an experienced Landholder Liaison Manager, Scott Taylor, to provide information and guidance to primary producers throughout this process.
Mr Taylor has extensive experience in the property industry dealing with land related matters within State Development Areas and infrastructure corridors. He will be an important resource for landholders.
It is important landholders understand where there are property yards, watering facilities or other infrastructure within the State Development Area, proponents will be required to either pay compensation to the landowner or relocate that infrastructure to another part of the landholder’s property.
Landholders will now be able to put all their specific questions to Mr Taylor.
Landholders within the final State Development Area and those no longer affected will receive letters this week, including maps showing the location of the State Development Area.
This information is also available online at http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/gbsda or by calling 1800 001 048.