Thursday, 30 September 2010

Court of Appeal win on construction sand

A July decision by the Court of Appeal has scuttled North Stradbroke Island miner Unimin’s attempts to resuscitate its bid to quarry millions of tonnes of low- value construction sand from the island.

The Court upheld Redland City Council’s 2008 unanimous decision to refuse a Unimin subsidiary the permits needed to remove sand from the island and truck it to the barge load-out at Dunwich for sale to the construction industry.

At the time, Unimin’s proposal caused outrage because of the disruption to the Dunwich community and environmental devastation that would be caused by the quarrying.

Many were concerned about the noise, pollution and safety issues associated with trucking.

They were also alarmed by the prospect of huge tracts of the island being dug up and exported to the mainland from long-life operations.

The Court of Appeal held that the miner’s application to the Council was defective in a number of respects and it dismissed the miner’s appeal against the Council’s unanimous decision.

FOSI and the other successful co- respondents have since called upon the Queensland Government to promise that it will not consent to a fresh application for Council approval - Government consent is a necessary pre-condition. No response has yet been received, although the Premier has been reminded of her March 2009 pre-election letter to voters which stated that her Government supported the Council's decision to reject the proposal. In view of that, it would be surprising if the Government were to allow one of its officers to provide the required consent. A further indication that the Government will not consent to a fresh application to the Council is that QCM (the Unimin subsidiary) has recently filed an application for special leave to appeal to the High Court against the Court of Appeal's dismissal of its appeal.