High Court Victory
FOSI, SIMO, native title owners, other conservationists and members of the local community waged a lengthy legal battle and were rewarded with a significant victory.
This proposal involved noisy and polluting trucks roaring through the streets of Dunwich and clogging up the ferry terminal entry point, at a rate of one every three minutes. It also would have meant continued domination of the island by the mining industry long after extractable minerals had run out.
All this impact on safety and peace of islanders and tourists was for the sake of ten jobs! (This figure was contained in the company’s application for planning permission to the Redland City Council).
|Sand heaps now need revegetation.|
Prior to selling out, CRL had duties to report honestly to its shareholders and the Stock Exchange. It revealed (see fact sheets) that mineral sand mining on Stradbroke Island would end by 2027 – perhaps as early as 2020 – assuming expired leases were renewed. CRL announced that, to prolong company profits via mining interests on the Island, it had a proposal to sell non-mineral sand to the construction industry. It commenced stockpiling sand, ignoring rehabilitation obligations. The Government turned a blind eye, and continues to ignore these huge stockpiles which can be seen from the mainland.
In late 2007 CRL lodged an application with the Redland City Council for planning permission to remove and sell 500,000 tonnes of sand per year. Based on the size of its stockpile, CRL could have had a continuing business for another 100 + years. To enhance the company’s value, CRL made no secret of this future plan.
Although the local council rejected the proposal in August 2008, the company appealed, maintaining it was confident the council decision would be overturned in the Courts. CRL nevertheless decided that it was time to sell out to Sibelco – before the appeals were heard.
The High Court decision exposes the Government to ridicule. In April 2011 the Government,led by Anna Bligh and Kate Jones, the then Environment minister, rushed through the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act. It is a misnomer. It neither protects nor sustains the Island, rather it sidestepped existing laws to renew critical expired leases to enable destructive mineral sand mining to continue until 31 December, 2019. The so-called Enterprise ‘restricted mine path’ within the Act, used to sell the plan to some environmentalists, has recently been doubled in size by the Environment minister, reducing the amount of area ‘saved’ by 62%. Unfortunately this increase was predictable – see the FOSI/SIMO submission to all MP’s prior to the Bill being passed without amendment. The Act also extended other key expired leases to allow the Vance silica mine to continue until 2025, despite the Court of Appeal’s findings relating to unlawful mining and unresolved criminal charges relating to that mine.
|View from the ferry.|