Toowoomba group pickets Deputy Premiers' office

Google Earth image of Acland showing New Hope Coal's nearby open cut mine.
Google Earth image of Acland showing New Hope Coal's nearby open cut mine. Google Earth

A TOOWOOMBA environmental group is picketing Deputy Premier Jackie Trad's office today over a planned expansion of a coal mine near the city.

Darling Downs Environmental Council president Paul King opposes the expansion and has joined a coalition of groups to protest the approval of the Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland mine in Brisbane.

Mr King said his group wanted the Labor-led Queensland Government to investigate the approval by the former LNP government.

"The approval was a dirty deal and the people of the Darling Downs will suffer if this goes ahead," he said.

"The previous Labor government rejected it however, after a big donation the LNP approved it."

He questioned whether the government was working under a mine approval system of "cheques and bank balances".

New Acland's parent company New Hope Group has said in the past the expansion is needed to create jobs in the Toowoomba region and to prolong the life of mining operations. 

The group admits donating $3,400 in Queensland and says it donated money to the federal Liberal Party as part of a campaign against the proposed Carbon Tax and the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.

The protest started at 9.30am this morning.

Environmental groups in the Toowoomba region oppose the expansion on the grounds that it will destroy food and water resources.

New Hope says mined land will be rehabilitated to grazing status.

Brisbane-based Clean Air Queensland, the Qld Sadies, Knitting Nannas and Drew Hutton's Lock the Gate Alliance are at the protest.