OPINON: Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham might be the one to make the final decision on the New Acland Coal Mine expansion, but it appears Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk may have already made up her mind.
The State Government has been somewhat quiet on the issue of New Acland in the 24 hours since the Land Court handed down its verdict, which put potentially hundreds of mining jobs at risk.
Dr Lynham has not been available for comment - when a statement came from the government yesterday, it was a spokesman. Ms Palaszczuk finally spoke to the media in Gladstone about the issue, in vague terms.
But what was interesting about Ms Palaszczuk's comments today is what she chose to highlight from the 460-page report handed down by Land Court member Paul Smith.
She spoke of the generations of farmers who have been working on the land for hundreds of years, and the devastating effects mining could potentially have on the groundwater.
But she didn't talk about the miners at all, or the risks that the closure of the mine would have on communities like Oakey.
When asked by a reporter about this very topic, she replied, "Well, there's jobs on both sides".
Mr Smith's report also goes into detail about the potentially economic benefits of the mine, as well as what a rejection would mean.
Ms Palaszczuk had prepared for this subject, she knew questions on New Acland were coming - and chose to highlight the farmers.
In noting her comments, I am not in any way attacking the landholders, nor am I endorsing or rejecting New Hope's plans for the area.
But an observer may well read into the Premier's comments in Gladstone today her views about the issue.
For the time being, Dr Lynham has an extraordinarily difficult choice to make, with neither side willing to budge on the issue.
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