The Queensland Land Court has denied New Hope Coal's Application for Ackland Stage 3. This will have far reaching implications for the West Morton and Western Rail systems. While the Court's decision is not binding on the Minister, who has the final say, it makes his approval more difficult politically. The Ackland Coal Mine supplies around half the traffic on the rail system west of Rosewood. At risk would be the on-going maintenance and capital improvements on the system, the jobs of about half the train crews at Toowoomba, increased tariffs for the Columboola mine that may make road haulage to the Port of Brisbane more attractive and reduces the need for the Toowoomba Rail workshops. Interesting times ahead. It could be the straw that breaks the Western Rails back.
The Court denied the application on the grounds that there might be issues with underground water for some farms. In effect the interests of a half dozen or so small farms has been placed ahead of the jobs that support several hundred families.