BRISBANE, AAP – Queensland Planning Minister Steven Miles will scrutinise an application for a controversial coal-fired power station proposed by Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal.
Waratah, a subsidiary of Mr Palmer’s Mineralogy, submitted a development application for the power plant with Barcaldine Regional Council in central Queensland.
The application was made under a 2006 planning scheme that does not require public consultation.
But Planning Minister Steven Miles has called in the application, saying this will make sure a thorough planning assessment can be made on the project and the community get their say.
“Barcaldine Regional Council has never assessed a project of this size,” he said.
“This call in allows the state to address a broader range of matters than the council was able to under their planning scheme.”
Calling in the project places approval of the power station in the state government’s hands.
An earlier notice proposing the call in gave people the chance to make representations which had been considered together with the council’s initial assessment.
The move follows calls from environmental groups for Mr Miles to intervene, saying the company had exploited a loophole by seeking approval from the council rather than the state government.
Queensland Conservation Council director Dave Copeman welcomed the call in, but said the project should be stopped altogether.
“Proper government assessment will find what Queenslanders already know: we cannot build a new coal-fired power station in the face of the worsening climate crisis,” he said.
“Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal power station and mega-mine go against global climate commitments and threaten our chances at a safe climate into the future, all to make a coal billionaire even richer.”
The proposed $3.5 billion project would be located on a cattle property about 30 kilometres northwest of the town of Alpha.
The plant would be fed by four million tonnes of coal each year from another Waratah Coal proposal, the adjacent Galilee Coal Project.