Minister could decide on New Acland before court hearing
MINES Minister Anthony Lynham has not ruled out making a decision on the New Acland mine expansion before a legal review is completed.
Speaking at Queensland budget estimates hearings in Parliament House in Brisbane on Wednesday, Dr Lynham said he expected to make the decision before the end of January 2018.
Earlier this year, after more than 100 days of hearings, the Land Court recommended Dr Lynham not approve New Acland's stage three expansion.
The mine's owner New Hope has applied for the Queensland Supreme Court to review Land Court member Paul Smith's recommendation, arguing he was biased against the company.
Earlier this week the court heard the review was being "prioritised” but would still not happen until next year. A date for the five-day review is expected to be set in the coming weeks.
Labor Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller asked Dr Lynham when a decision on the mine's future would be made.
She said workers had been "left in limbo” waiting for the expansion to be approved or rejected.
Dr Lynham said due to the massive amount of evidence presented at the court he had applied to extend the time he had to make a decision to January 31, 2018.
"I want to be fully informed before making a decision on the details of this,” he said.
"It could be earlier (than January 31, 2018), it depends on how long it takes me to go through all the evidence.”
Dr Lynham did not mention New Hope's judicial review in his answer to Ms Miller's question.