On 7 November 2013, the Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, released the Galilee Basin Development Strategy (Strategy). The Strategy acknowledges the long-term economic benefits that opening up the Galilee Basin to mining would bring to Queensland and is designed to support and encourage business and industry to develop key infrastructure across the region.

The Strategy details government initiatives aimed at early development of the southern and central Galilee Basin (with priority to be given to ‘first movers’). These initiatives include:

  • lowering start-up costs by offering a discounted royalty period which will gradually ramp-up to full royalty by the end of the period,
  • streamlining land acquisition, planning, approvals and red tape reduction by compulsorily acquiring land for projects, delivering project approvals in a timely way and consider declaring projects ‘prescribed projects’ to overcome unreasonably delays in obtaining project approvals,
  • positioning Abbot Point as the Galilee’s gateway to the world by reserving the Terminal (T2) development site for a proponent to develop coal stockpiling and handling infrastructure, and
  • supporting infrastructure development and corridors by supporting the development of localised water solutions, encouraging and assisting private investment in relevant electricity transmission and prioritising the development of roads critical to opening up the Galilee Basin.

No further details have been released at this stage.

Notably, the Strategy comes less than a week after approval of GVK’s Kevin’s Corner project which is expected to be Australia’s biggest coal project. Kevin’s Corner joins the adjacent Alpha Coal project which was approved in August 2012.

In addition, Aurizon has been developing an integrated rail transport and port solution for Galilee Basin coal over the past two years.

For further information, please contact Jay Leary, Partner, Roger Allingham, Graduate or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.