The Queensland state government has set out to accelerate the development of the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal and rail project by renewing and expanding the project’s special “prescribed project” status to include its water infrastructure.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure – the first time this has happened in seven years.
He said the declaration, which was based on advice from the independent Coordinator-General, means less red tape for the project and the jobs and business opportunities it offered.
“This step bundles together major elements of the project for the first time – the mine, the 389 kilometre rail line, and the water infrastructure, including a pipeline, pumping stations and a dam upgrade,” the Minister explained.
“It makes it more efficient to establish easements for infrastructure like the water pipeline and the rail, and expands the Coordinator-General’s power to ensure timely approvals.”
He said the Palaszczuk Government has gone to great lengths to accelerate the development of the project, as illustrated by the 22 key Commonwealth, State and local government approvals granted for Adani’s mine, rail and port facilities.
“Adani has now obtained all the necessary primary approvals for its mine, rail and port project— and most importantly, I have granted the mining leases,” the Minister added.
“At a state level, the only key approvals remaining are water licenses and Adani is actively working on those with my Department of Natural Resources and Mines. I know that regional communities particularly will welcome the advice from Adani that construction of the project is set to begin in 2017.”
He also pointed out that the progress on the project had been achieved while protecting the Great Barrier Reef and meeting Queensland and Commonwealth environmental impact assessment requirements.