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Stakeholder Involvement in Planning to Maximise the Benefits and Acceptance of Land Packages Post Coal Mining in Central Queensland

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Published: May 18Project Number: C25032

Get ReportAuthor: John Rolfe, Jo-Anne Everingham, Delwar Akbar, Susan Kinnear | Central Queensland University

This project sought to tease out models for stakeholder involvement in post-mining land use change issues and to identify issues relevant to engaging with stakeholders in reference panels or other group processes. The project had four aims:

  • To identify the key factors that are likely to be relevant to future landholders, local communities, Aboriginal traditional owners (where relevant) and other stakeholders when negotiating closure of a mining operation;
  • To model the economic returns and flows from transitioning mining leases to agricultural and other land functions;
  • To test the use of different local expert/stakeholder panel models to select and negotiate preferred scenarios for mine closure and subsequent land use(s); and
  • To use the findings to assist in the development of a process for negotiating mine closures that aligns with local community and stakeholder needs and acceptance.

While there are Queensland Government requirements that there will be some level of community and stakeholder agreement about post-mining land uses, there is no current standard or level of understanding about:

  • Appropriate and effective timing and mechanisms to engage stakeholders and communities in post-mining land use decisions;
  • The extent to which an engagement and consultation process with key stakeholders can lead to a convergence of views and agreement about post-mining land use.

This research involved four main stages:

  • Review of past research and relevant guidelines;
  • Consultation and interviews with more than 20 stakeholders;
  • Conduct of four workshops with key stakeholders, using maps of a mock-up mining lease;
  • Analysis and reporting.

The project has involved a number of stakeholders relevant to post-mining land use change in the Bowen Basin. These were mining-affected people with considerable knowledge about some aspects of Central Queensland land uses and economy; with strong connections to one or more identified stakeholder groups (eg local landholder, traditional owner, natural resource manager; local council or local environment groups); and with motivation and availability for the sequence of workshops. These stakeholders were especially engaged in the four workshops that used a hypothetical scenario but were designed to match, as closely as possible, with the processes that could be followed in an actual case. All participants were invited on the basis of their close involvement with relevant issues. For example, the targeted landholders were those who were mine neighbours or leasees or owners of mining land, while mining representatives had environmental and/or community engagement responsibilities.

In summary, the results of the project can be highlighted as:

  • The key factors relevant to transferring mining land back to grazing are identified;
  • The economics of transferring mining lands back to grazing uses are quantified;
  • The underlying drivers and benefits of engagement and consultation processes are identified;
  • Different stakeholder groups are shown to have similar views in regards to post-mining land use issues (and the processes by which these may be dealt with);
  • Key features of different models that can be used for stakeholder engagement are identified and aligned with different purposes;
  • The strengths of a workshop-based process to develop an agreed view about post-mining land use is demonstrated;
  • Guidance is provided about steps in a process of engaging a stakeholder panel.

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