Burke sets deadline for Alpha report
THE Newman Government has until Friday afternoon to deliver a complete environmental report into Gina Rinehart's $6.4 billion coal mine in Alpha west of Rockhampton, or risk costly delays of their own making.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke set the deadline after he rapped the state government over the knuckles for not putting the future mine through its proper environmental paces.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney appeared to back down on Thursday, with an office spokesman saying only that the state was happy to work closely with the Commonwealth and minister "to resolve any reasonable issues".
Mr Burke blasted Mr Seeney after the Deputy Premier called on him on Wednesday to speedily approve the project - something Mr Burke said he could not do until he had the full report.
If the federal minister did not receive that, he said, he would swing his department into checking the Alpha project's environmental credential itself, creating significant delays and cost.
"There's no point in doing most of the work and not finishing it; that simply results in me having to commence a parallel Commonwealth process," Mr Burke said on Thursday.
"If the Queensland Government can't give that agreement by close of business Friday then I will, unfortunately, be in a position where I have no choice but to commence a duplicated process."
The spat between Mr Seeney and Mr Burke reached a crescendo on Wednesday as the pair attacked each other from their respective parliaments, Mr Seeney from Queensland and Mr Burke from Canberra.
In Question Time, Mr Burke pointed to Page 198 of the Co-ordinator-General's report where it stated "at the time of writing this report, I had not received detailed comments or advice from either (Department of Environment) or state agencies", but relied on preliminary advice.
The mine will deliver 3600 jobs during construction and another 900 once it begins exporting coal.