Some of the Toowoomba region’s largest lobby groups and business chambers are drawing on people power to force the State Government to approve the expansion of the New Acland coal mine.

The Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, Oakey Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise have launched a petition to put pressure on the government to fast-track the process.

It comes after the mine’s owner New Hope revealed it would cull 150 jobs from its current operation if stage three wasn’t approved by September.

The expansion has been stuck in development limbo for 10 years and faced several legal battles from farmers and environmental activists.

Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce CEO Jo Sheppard said the workers and Oakey community deserved some certainty around the future of the project.

“Because the decision-making process has been so drawn-out, if this stage is not approved in September, 150 people will lose their jobs,” she said.

“If that happens, it will have quite severe flow-on effects for our economy.

“From a business perspective, the indecision is not good for New Hope, the town of Oakey, the workers and the wider community.

“We want people to impress upon the government how important it is.”

Ms Sheppard said the approval of the highly controversial Adani mine in the Galilee Basin showed the State Government could make a decision if forced to act.

“Adani has shown that a decision can be made, so we need something soon so 150 people don’t lose their jobs,” she said.

To sign the petition, head to thisĀ link.

Originally published via The Chronicle

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