A Senate committee has voted to end a ban on coal seam oil and gas mining in the state.
The committee approved the mining ban by a vote of 14 to six on Wednesday.
“The committee believes that the Government’s proposal to limit mining to 1.5 billion tonnes of coal seam resources, and therefore 1.7 billion tonnes, is not in the national interest and will not lead to significant economic benefit,” the committee said in a statement.
“In addition, the committee believes there is a need to protect the environment by restricting the extraction of coal seams in the Pilbara, and will vote against the Coal seam gas mine closure.”
The ban has been in place since 2007, but it has been extended by two years to allow for more study.
It is not yet clear how many mines would be shut down under the new rules.
The Minerals Council of Australia said the move to end the ban would be good for Australia’s coal industry.
“We welcome the decision by the committee to consider the future of coal mining in Queensland and we look forward to working with the Government to continue to protect coal seam resource development and economic growth,” said Dan Hamermesh, the council’s chief executive.
“While we recognise that some aspects of the ban are not in line with the best interests of Queenslanders, this does not mean that the ban should be scrapped.
We recognise that the policy was implemented in the interests of the industry and we remain committed to working towards a better outcome for Queenslanders.”
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government had made “a political decision” and that the mining industry should stay in the mining sector.
“They’re going to keep mining.
It’s the Government and its policy, and if they want to keep it in the coal seam, they can,” she said.