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BREAKING | Adani Approvals Due In Three Weeks

Adani has been told that its environmental approvals are due back in less than three weeks.

It comes after Adani Mining's CEO met with the Department of Environment and Science and the Coordinator General on Thursday.  

The Premier taking the unusual step of asking the Coordinator General to use his powers to speed up the process following Labor's dramatic election loss last weekend.  

Speaking from Cairns, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has given her Environment Department until May 31 to finish approvals for the Finch Management Plan.

She wants a result for the groundwater management plan, recently approved by Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price, by June 13.

The Premier said "this is good news. This is a breakthrough".  

"Now we've got some firm time frames for decision making to happen in relation to this project and our laws, Commonwealth and State, are strict.

"We need to make sure that projects do stack up, and the projects that are getting those approvals are meeting those requirements under our laws.

The Premier thanked Adani and the DES for agreeing to sit down with the Coordinator General, adding the "Coordinator General has worked his guts out".

She explained that "these deadlines are now set by the Coordinator General and they're the time frames and we want to keep them to the time frames".

“We now have clear timelines to finalise two key decisions for this project,” the Premier said.

“The Coordinator-General has advised that a decision on the Black-throated Finch Management Plan (BTFMP) should be finalised by 31 May, and on the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP) by 13 June.

“The Coordinator-General is working to ensure that a number of outstanding issues resting with the CSIRO regarding the GDEMP are resolved in a timely fashion.

“All resource projects must comply with relevant laws.

“I expect all parties, including Adani and state agencies, to work co-operatively to finalise these matters in a timely fashion.”

The Coordinator-General has been working with representatives from Adani, the independent regulator and other state government agencies to determine the timeframes to resolve remaining decisions.

Ms Palaszczuk also said she met with the CFMEU on Thursday evening and meets with groups like this regularly.

She said "at the end of the day, they all want jobs, they want good decent jobs for their members, but they also want projects that meet the laws of the land".

Earlier this week, Adani had challenged the State Government to deliver a result within two weeks.  

CEO of Adani Mining, Lucas Dow said “We welcome the Premier’s announcement today that the regulator will reach a decision on the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan by 31 May 2019, and on the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan by 13 June 2019".  

“We will work closely with the Queensland Government to achieve these timeframes and we expect that the Department of Environment and Science (DES) will now finalise these plans within weeks not months.

“This is a positive step towards construction of the mine and rail project.

“We will continue to uphold our end of the bargain and will undertake the necessary work to meet these timeframes, and we’re looking forward to the Queensland Government doing the same.

“This will bring the lengthy, independent and rigorous two-year review process for these management plans to an end.

“DES has been reviewing the groundwater management plans for more than two years, across 11 versions. In addition, pre-eminent scientific bodies CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have also conducted reviews of the groundwater management plans.

“Over the past two years, seven versions of the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan have also been submitted to DES, consisting of more than 1,000 pages of advice. These have been assessed and verified by more than 10 different scientists, five environmental consultancy groups and even a Land Court judge.

“We are also encouraged that the Coordinator General will publish later today the Queensland Government’s target dates for finalising other project-related milestones.

“These project-related milestones include such things as the dates to finalise the royalties agreement, finalisation of the deed of access and sublease for the rail line and other relevant infrastructure agreements.

“We are determined to see this through for the benefit of Queensland and in particular for people in regional Queensland.”

By Michelle Price