Landholders still wary of policy

Flynn, Lindsay, Avriel, Douglas and Brodie Tyson on their property Springwood, west of Rolleston.
Flynn, Lindsay, Avriel, Douglas and Brodie Tyson on their property Springwood, west of Rolleston.

WHILE the State Government’s Strategic Cropping Land framework policy may be good news for many Central Highlands landholders, not all are poised to join in the celebrations.

Lindsay and Avriel Tyson live on Springwood, a property west of Rolleston that overlooks Xstrata’s Rolleston coal mine.

And although Springwood’s cultivation area falls just within the protected area on the south-west boundary of the strategic cropping land map, it is unlikely to stop Xstrata’s proposed expansion onto their land.

It is a battle the Tysons have been fighting for almost two years. The expansion of the open-cut operations, due to the stage of development it has already reached, could be allowed to go ahead under the transitional arrangements clause in the proposed SCL policy.

“The announcement appears good, especially for the Orion and Arcturus area, but it looks as though we’re still in the firing line,” Lindsay said.

“We are very concerned about the transitional arrangements, we sit next to an existing mine and it doesn’t look as though this stops them from expanding even though we have been identified as strategic cropping land.

“It looks like we won’t get the full protection of Strategic Cropping Land policy… we’re still very worried and uncertain.”

Mr Tyson said he expected the maps to identify Springwood’s cultivation area as SCL, which they did, and said he hoped that gave his family a platform from which to fight the expansion.

Kate and Eugene Sullivan are wheat farmers from the Golden Triangle south of Emerald and are not convinced by the proposed SCL policy.

“I’m not completely confident, until we see the criteria actually applied it is difficult to tell how it is all going to go,” Kate said.

“We are happy to see it, and it has been a very thorough process, but we’re still nervous to see how the policy will actually be applied, you just don’t know.”

Kate Sullivan’s uncertainty exists over a Bandanna Energy proposed underground mine on their property. She said underground operations are deemed to be less intrusive and may not be affected by the proposed policy.

A Department of Environment and Resource Management spokesperson said transitional arrangements apply to proposed coal, mineral, gas and petroleum resource development projects that have met certain milestones in the approvals process.

The transitional arrangements are to recognise the investment made in projects already under way.

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