New law brings mines closer to home

MINING legislation aimed at streamlining the development approval process but in the meantime blurring the boundaries between urban areas and mine developments has been passed in parliament amid a cloud of fierce debate.

The Mines Legislation Streamlining Amendment Bill 2012 reduces the red tape surrounding mine development processes, outlines where resource activities and the rest of the world can co-exist and provides avenues for chemical disposal.

While the Opposition applauded the legislation's tilt towards freeing up the coal seam gas approval process, the party scrutinized changes to buffer zones in urban areas.

Speaking as someone familiar with the impacts of the mining boom, Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller told parliament on Wednesday night the law reforms threatened the current standing rule of no mining explorations within a two kilometre radius of towns with populations over 1000 people.

"In my own electorate mining has encroached on urban areas," she said.

"The suburbs of Swanbank, Bundamba, Ebbw Vale, Dinmore, Riverview, Redbank, Redbank Plains, Collingwood Park, Blackstone and Goodna have all had coalmining.

"To this day we still have the effects of coalmining in our community."

Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss quickly jumped to the defence of his party's legislation and stated the Government's work-in-progress statutory regional planning would help protect small communities.

He said the legislation would help the way the state did business.Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche applauded the reform, which he attributed to years of hard work.

"The new legislation begins to take the mystery out of resource tenure and makes the processes of assessing and awarding tenure more open to public scrutiny," he said.

The changes also allow coal seam gas companies to transport and treat contaminated water through underground pipelines to water treatment facilities - to be built in regional Queensland - instead of using controversial storage ponds.

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