MAPPING: Lock the Gate Alliance says precious farmland and environmental areas in Queensland are “under threat” from coal and gas mining.
MAPPING: Lock the Gate Alliance says precious farmland and environmental areas in Queensland are “under threat” from coal and gas mining.

INTERACTIVE: Map shows Qld ‘under threat’ from coal, gas

AN ANTI-COAL group has released mapping claiming to show the extent of Queensland's precious farmland and environmental areas "under threat" from coal and gas mining.

Lock the Gate Alliance said it showed 37 per cent or 7.7 million hectares of high quality farmland and important ecological areas were being taken over by coal or gas mining projects and exploration permits.

But Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane has slammed the analysis as "flawed and misleading".

The alliance said the map was created from publicly available State Government resources.

Alliance spokeswoman Ellie Smith said measures the government introduced in 2014, aimed to prioritise "agricultural activity on what is a finite and critical resource for Queensland", had not worked.

"The Regional Planning Interests Act has undeniably failed Queenslanders," Ms Smith said.

"Even though only 11 per cent of Queensland is identified by the government as the highest priority farmland and ecological areas, this new mapping shows an astonishing 37 per cent of those areas are covered by coal or gas mining and exploration permits." 

The alliance has called on the State Government to amend the regional planning laws to strengthen the role of regional communities and to protect precious areas.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch's office was contacted for comment but did not respond.

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector co-existed with traditional ownership and other land uses.

"The resources industry has been a mainstay in the far western region for more than half a century," he said.

"The analysis fails to recognise that exploration for the new discoveries, such as for the critical minerals needed for battery storage, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy, are done over large areas with little land disturbance and using advanced techniques such as geophysical surveying from aircraft."

Mr Macfarlane noted there were already constraints, including under the Regional Planning Interests Act, on exploration work.

"Under the Act, a regional interests development approval may be required if resource activity is proposed in high-value living, agricultural or environmental areas," he said.

"Companies only move to production, in much smaller areas, when their targeted exploration work has proved the resource is there and they have secured separate environmental approvals to develop the resource."

He said these approvals had comprehensive environmental conditions.


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