The latest 'climate change' challenge to the Alpha coal
mine was dismissed by the Queensland Court of Appeal this
An appeal by Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc
against a decision to issue an environmental authority for a large
coal mine in central Queensland has been dismissed by the
Queensland Court of Appeal (Coast and Country Association of
Queensland Inc v Smith & Ors  QCA 242).
In the proceedings, brought under the Judicial Review Act 1991,
the appellant argued that greenhouse gas emissions generated
off-site from the transportation and burning of coal from the mine
(known as 'scope 3 emissions') must be considered in
assessing the proposal under the Environmental Protection Act
1994 (EP Act) and Mineral Resources Act
1989 (MR Act).
Whilst the appeal was unsuccessful, the potential relevance of
scope 3 emissions was clarified. Key points include:
scope 3 emissions are not relevant to considering whether any
adverse environmental impact is caused by mining
'operations' under the MR Act (s 269(4)(j))
scope 3 emissions may be a factor considered in determining
whether the public interest is prejudiced under the MR Act (s
although the majority judgment sought to limit considerations
of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions under the EP Act to
those resulting from mining activities authorised on land to which
the mining lease relates, Justice McMurdo, President of the Court
of Appeal, disagreed with this narrow interpretation, leaving the
door open for further challenge
the Land Court had found that the contribution of the mine to
global greenhouse gas emissions would be negligible, and it was not
open to the Court of Appeal to revisit this finding of fact.
It remains to be seen whether the appellant will pursue further
The move towards higher occupancy apartments in Brisbane is
A request to change some apartments within the approved
'Brisbane Skytower' from one to two bedrooms marks another
example of a developer 'meeting the market' in a
The developer is seeking to reconfigure 51 of the units within
the 90-storey tower to add an extra bedroom. Documents lodged with
the request state that, whilst the converted apartments will be
smaller than the typical two-bedroom units, they are more
attractive given the opportunity they provide for two unrelated
persons to occupy the apartment.
Brisbane City Council is yet to decide the request.
This follows another request that was recently made to change an
approved development in West End by dramatically reducing the
number of apartments in favour of larger apartments with more
bedrooms. You can read our previous update about this development
There are opportunities in ecotourism?
The Queensland Government's push to develop more sustainable
tourism ventures was bolstered this week with the announcement of
its Eco-Tourism Plan 2016-2020.
The natural environment was cited as Queensland's
competitive advantage in the tourism market. The focus of the new
plan is to capitalise on that advantage by encouraging ecotourism
development that showcases the environment and drives innovation
As part of the plan, the Queensland Government has endorsed the
globally recognised EarthCheck program to certify tourism operators
to achieve best practice standards in nature-based tourism.
The announcement confirms the Queensland Government's focus
on tourism to stimulate the economy, following other recent
announcements including plans to revitalise its leasehold resorts
on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Queensland Planning & Environment Court handed down a
decision awarding costs to Brisbane City Council this week?
Gray v Gympie Regional Council  QPEC 49 –
this was a successful application for costs made by the Council
where the appellant had discontinued an appeal after her solicitor
advised that she had little prospect of success. The Court found
that, in circumstances where the appellant had effectively
surrendered a weak case, it should pay the Council's costs
given the wasted expense it incurred. The Court noted that the
costs were awarded from a compensatory, not punitive, basis.
This article is intended to provide commentary and general
information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal
legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on
matters of interest arising from this article. Authors listed may
not be admitted in all states and territories
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If an owner wants to remove a caveat, issuing a lapsing notice is a quick and easy way to shift the problem to the caveator.
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