Coal battle: Judge sends $900m New Acland plan back to court
THE contentious $900 million New Acland mine expansion proposal has been given a boost.
On Wednesday, Justice Helen Bowskill overturned a Land Court recommendation.
This means the enormous mine proposal will go back to the Land Court.
In Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday, Justice Bowskill cited three reasons for overturning Member Paul Smith's decision.
The first related to groundwater, the second to intergenerational equity, and the third to noise.
New Acland Coal had asked the supreme court to review Member Paul Smith's decision to reject the Oakey Stage 3 expansion.
Justice Bowskill said a member other than Mr Smith will hear the case.
The expansion proposal had already sparked one of the longest land court cases ever.
Oakey Coal Action Alliance was opposed to the expansion.
Mr Smith last year found there was a chance groundwater supplies available to surrounding landholders could be affected for generations to come if the expansion was approved.
In March, the company submitted Mr Smith's personal feelings may have "coloured" his objectivity in the case.
The coal company raised concerns about Mr Smith referring in his judgment to The Castle.
The film reference was made in relation to one of Acland's last residents, Glen Beutel, who refused to sell his properties to New Acland Coal.
Mr Beutel was portrayed as an underdog, like character Darryl Kerrigan was in the movie.
Outside court on Wednesday, agricultural chemist John Standley said the new decision was disappointing.
Dr Standley said the land court decision last year was fair and he was "amazed" New Acland thought of challenging the decision.
He has been a long-time opponent of the Stage 3 expansion.
Dr Standley previously raised concerns about groundwater contamination. He travelled from Toowoomba for Wednesday's judgment.