THE Palaszczuk government has rejected a proposal for coal exploration in the Bundaberg region.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said there had been significant adverse community sentiment about Fox Resources' application for a mineral development licence to further its exploration for coal north of Bundaberg.
"The Palaszczuk government supports the resources industry for the jobs it creates and the royalties it generates to fund teachers, nurses and police officers," Mr Stewart said.
"However, as I have today advised Fox Resources, I have considered a significant amount of information, including submissions from Fox and detailed information from my department in reaching this decision.
"This is particularly in relation to the potential negative environmental, agricultural and social impacts in the Bundaberg region."
Mr Stewart said Fox Resources had not adequately demonstrated it could resolve or offset the public's concerns.
Bundaberg cane farmer Judy Plath said the community very clearly did not support a coal mine in a coastal farming region that relied on tourism.
"It is time for a serious rethink of how we zone for mining at a time when the world is facing food shortages," Ms Plath said.
"It's never been more important to protect prime agricultural land and our precious water supplies."
It's never been more important to protect prime agricultural land and our precious water supplies.- Judy Plath, cane farmer
Bundaberg Regional Council and local Members of Parliament, including the LNP's Stephen Bennett, also opposed the application.
"This is a huge win for people power, our agriculture industry, and the environment," Mr Bennett said.
"From the very beginning I joined forced with the community to send a clear message to the state government: 'Over my dead body will I stand by and watch while precious agricultural land is targeted for mining'."
Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said the drawn-out process was evidence Queensland needed stricter laws to protect communities, prime agricultural land, and other priority areas from mining.
"There are some places that are too precious to mine," Ms Smith said.
"Fox Resources should never have been allowed to apply to mine in our food bowl just near the Great Barrier Reef.
"The coal mine threatened not just food production but would also have impacted on the world renowned turtle nesting grounds at Mon Repos."
Ms Smith said Queensland desperately needed to strengthen regional planning laws to prohibit mining in prime farming land and areas of environmental and cultural significance.
"The Queensland Government could act right now to make these areas off limits by minor legal amendments. It's time to stop leaving it to communities to protect Queensland's best assets," she said.
Comment has been sought from Fox Resources.
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