QRC welcomes practical aspects of State Govt’s new environment Bill

  • Posted 13 October, 2022
  • Media Releases

13 October 2022

The State Government’s decision to listen to industry feedback and make the newly introduced Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment (EPOLA) Bill 2022 more practical has been welcomed by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said it was reassuring that a series of unworkable provisions proposed during the consultation phase – such as empowering the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to retrospectively reduce the scale or intensity of existing projects – have been removed.

“Queensland’s best interests are served when industry, government and the community work together to develop responsible and achievable outcomes,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“While the QRC still has some concerns about the Bill, which we will raise during the parliamentary committee consultation process, we feel we have been listened to in some key areas and the government has improved the legislation from earlier drafts.

“All industries, whether it’s resources, agriculture or manufacturing, need to be able to operate in a way that is environmentally responsible but also supports growth and development, so it’s good to see some common sense coming through in this Bill.”

Mr Macfarlane said a key area of concern with the proposed legislation is that it gives DES new ‘early refusal’ powers that would stop a project at the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) stage based on highly ambiguous criteria.

“The QRC does not object to the department having an early refusal power based on very clear and consistent grounds – such as a project being illegal under current laws for example – but the current reasons for refusal at EIS stage are wide open to interpretation,” he said.

“Under this Bill, a project can now be rejected if it ‘impacts an area of social or technological significance, to the present generation or past or future generations’.

“This is far too broad in its meaning and could easily be misused or misinterpreted by any government for political reasons, which is not acceptable.

“The QRC will advocate very strongly for the early EIS refusal criteria to be better defined and tightened up, so the process is fair and objective for all projects.”


Media contact: Rachel Stewart – [email protected] or 0408 130 767