Council backs calls for State to join Barro Quarry court appeal

Redland City Council has backed calls from Mount Cotton residents for the State Government to join them in a Planning and Environment Court case opposing the Mount Cotton quarry.

Division 6 Councillor Julie Talty successfully moved an amended resolution in today’s Council meeting, calling for the State through the Minister for Planning to join as a party to the ongoing court case to defend Council’s refusal of an extension to the time allowed to build the quarry.

Cr Talty said the Council decision followed a request and petition from Mount Cotton residents to today’s General Meeting, asking Council to request the State joins court proceedings.

“Council has consistently supported the community in opposing this quarry, including refusing the original application in 2013,” Cr Talty said.

“Unfortunately, the State Government of the day overruled Council and called in and subsequently approved the application.

“That State Government approval was set to lapse in December 2017, prompting Council to refuse an application to extend the time period allowed for the quarry to be built, and we have been fighting alongside residents to defend our refusal in court ever since.

“Unfortunately, despite the State Government calling in the original application and being the level of Government in charge of Key Resource Areas – the legislation that governs quarries – they have so far refused to stand beside Council and residents in court.

“Hopefully, after today’s request from residents and subsequent Council decision, that will change and the State will support Council and residents in opposing the extension.”

Cr Talty said the State Government was in the driving seat of many of the matters relating to the proposed quarry.

“The State imposes the Key Resource Area that controls the area where the quarry is proposed,” she said.

“They also monitor air and dust levels, which are among the major concerns of residents, and controls the road serving the quarry, so we really need them with us in court arguing these points on behalf of residents.

“Council has been there since the beginning arguing our case and we will be there again at the next court date.

“The question is, will the State be there beside us?”

Today’s resolution also called for more information from the State Government with respect to proposed koala legislation which could have an impact on the proposed quarry.

Mayor Karen Williams said the current State Minister for Planning recently wrote to Council to advise he had approved a change to some of the project’s conditions and, in doing so, he said the State was working on new environmental legislation.

“As yet, we don’t know what that legislation is, but what we do know is that Mount Cotton holds significant environmental character and if there is any chance the new legislation could help protect it then we need the State there with us in court to argue the case,” she said.

“We hope the new legislation could help protect the environmental corridors surrounding the quarry and the local amenity of the surrounding community.”

Cr Talty said she had met with Mount Cotton residents to hear their concerns and it was clear they wanted as much support as possible in having their voices heard.

“Residents have told me they are concerned and they want the State Government to work with them and Council in fighting this in court,” Cr Talty said.

“We have thrown everything we have at the case, but without the State there arguing for State matters the argument isn’t complete.

“Only by the Minister formally joining this court case and arguing for residents’ concerns will the State Government show they truly support the community.”