Archived web page - Kin Kin Community Group Inc.

Documents supporting our case

(Updated 14 july 2016)

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Pomona Kin Kin Road Kin Kin

We believe that, for people to support us in our action to stop the mega quarry near Kin Kin, they need to be informed. With that in mind, please access these documents and make your own decisions about whether you believe the Kin Kin community has had any opportunity to become aware of the size and scope of this proposal until major earthworks began in early 2010.

Documents are in pdf format and are laid out in time line order. Click a highlighted link to download. (Some files are quite large). A link to a detailed map and plan file is available at the foot of this page.

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1987

The landholder of Lot 259 Plan March 187, near Kin Kin, (60.02 ha) made an application to Noosa Council for Extractive Industry - quarry. (2.22 Mb) Key points were:
  • 10 hectares site area (17% of Lot 259).
  • 4 employees only, one small building.
  • one small crusher
  • Excavation 50 metres deep, 150 metres wide.
  • Excavation area "partly cleared and pastured and partly densely forested".

A public notice was published but did not even give the above description. A sign was erected on Shepperson's Lane. This is the first and only time this quarry has been open for public discussion or objection.

Noosa Council issued a Town Planning Consent, (1.64 Mb) with many conditions, and a life for the quarry of three years. Some of the conditions of this approval were appealed by the applicant. The KKCG contested the legality of this approval in 2010 in the Planning and Environment Court. We were advised by our legal team that the application did not comply with the by-laws and should be deemed not to have been made.

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1988

The Local Government Planning Court made a consent order, (2.13 Mb) including new or amended conditions such as roadwork requirements, and extended the term from three years to 30 years. To the best of our knowledge, no-one in the Kin Kin community knew of this hearing and consent order except the applicant. In 2010 the KKCG was advised by our legal team that the Local Government Planning Court had no lawful jurisdiction to make this consent order. Back to Top

1990

Noosa Council considered revoking approval because there had been no activity. They decided not to and never again considered revoking the approval, although they could have done so every two years.

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1991

Readymix advised Noosa Council it was leasing the property and submitted a Quarry Management Statement and Development Plan. (289 Kb) This was never properly approved by Council and Readymix withdrew. Curiously, the Council maintains that this application set the size and intensity of the Kin Kin quarry for all time. There was no public consultation, despite the plan being for a quarry many times larger than that proposed in the original application. This works plan clearly shows "Wahpunga Creek" passing along one side of the works area. Subsequent plans have removed all traces of this creek because the original application stated "The proposed excavation is no closer than 100 metres from adjacent significant water courses or streams". That part of Wahpunga Creek which originates on Lot 259 has provided significant runoff to downstream farming properties since early settlement but was recently dammed during Neilsen's site preparation. A very questionable ruling by DERM officers, appealed by adjoining downstream landholders, was upheld and that part of Wahpunga Creek on Lot 259 (the quarry) is now termed a "drainage feature".

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1994

One test drilling was carried out by Council.

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1995

Quarry approval had lain virtually dormant for seven years. Readymix lease expired. Under pressure from landholder, Noosa Council entered into a lease requiring it to extract 15,000 tonnes per year or pay a set fee. Very little was extracted. On legal advice we believed that the approval lapsed at this time.

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1997

Noosa Council deputy engineer (279 Kb) wrote to a nearby resident explaining that the quarry was only ever intended to supply material for local road maintenance and would never be a year-round operation like a commercial quarry. Although this letter was submitted to the subsequent P & E Court hearing in 2010, the court seems to have interpreted it merely as proving that nearby landowners were aware of the quarry. Please read this letter and make up your own mind what it says about Council's understanding of and intent for the future of the quarry.

Noosa Council Strategic Plan was gazetted but included nothing in the text about the quarry. The map overlay (2.76 Mb) was misleading in that it does not show the "resource area" in the correct place. In fact the resource area shown does not even touch the area applied for by the landholder for a quarry in 1987. That area is actually shown in the overlay as being a conservation area.

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2001

State Government began developing a new State Planning Policy which sought to identify and protect Key Resource Areas. There was intensive lobbying from Concrete Cement Aggregate Association (CCAA) prior to and during this discussion phase. State Government now claims there was comprehensive community consultation. Nobody in the Kin Kin area, including those owning properties which were later included in the resource area or separation area, were aware of such a plan. Even the landowner of the quarry lot (Shepperson) was unaware of any such discussion, plans or gazettal until informed by a neighbour in December 2009.

Noosa Council commissioned a report "Protection of Mineral and Extractive Resources in Noosa Shire" (Willmott & Stephens) which was never made public. This report produced a new map of the "resource area" although it referred to it as the area "as shown on the existing Strategic Plan". This map and the map in the Strategic Plan (1997) are vastly different from each other. This report also extended the "buffer zone" to the west, but claimed it to be the same buffer zone as in the Strategic Plan. This, too, was incorrect. Council, instead of heeding its own advice, opted to accept the more expansive boundaries of the Willmott & Stephens map.

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2002

Noosa Council adopted an update to a 1995 internal report, "Extractive & Clay Mineral Resources of Noosa Shire", which contained significant changes to the way the Wahpunga resource was to be managed, including widening the resource area to include the top of the range and pushing the separation area out further. None of this was publicised or publicly discussed with local residents. Back to Top

2003

Department of Natural Resources and Mines advised Noosa Council of draft State Planning Policy and asked for details of resources requiring protection. Council failed at this one opportunity to put the record straight, adopting, instead, the map handed down to them in the commissioned report of Willmott and Stephens in 2001 as the map of the Wahpunga resource.

Subsequently, the State Government draft KRA map was sent to Council, but not publicised by them. Significantly, it excluded the majority of the area applied for by the landholder for his quarry from the "resource area". This area remained on the current Noosa Plan (1997) as a Conservation - Open Space area.

Council continued to allow new residences to be built near Lot 259 and a large health retreat to be established next to what they later claimed to be the proposed haulage route.

Neilsen's Quality Gravels Pty Ltd entered an option agreement with landowner. A delegated council officer made the extraordinarily generous offer to the landholder that an application made at this time would be regarded as an extension of time only, rather than requiring a full application under the Integrated Planning Act. Councillors confirmed this with Neilsen's managers. Council voted to extend the life of the quarry to 2033, despite still having no approved Management Plan to base the decision on. Still there was no community consultation.

The densely timbered area near the upper levels of Lot 259, along the steep escarpment bordering Murrays Road, until this period shown on State Government maps as "Endangered Regional Ecosystem", was mysteriously downgraded to "Of No Concern". No explanation for this has yet been discovered. Adjoining land, similarly classified as endangered regional ecosystem in 2003, remains so.

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2004

Neilsen's lodged a Quarry Management Plan with Council, later revised in 2005. This plan indicated an intention to extract a pit (433 Kb) 800 metres by 400 metres wide, with 11 fifteen metre high benches cut into the face of the escarpment, rising to a height of 180 metres (590 feet) above the pit floor. Noosa Council claims to have approved this plan, although it covers an area almost 500% larger than the landholder's original application for 10 ha.

The draft "SPP - Protection of Extractive Resources" was released by the State Government, but not publicized by Council. During the objection period before the gazettal of the Noosa Plan 2006, Kin Kin residents who queried the quarry zoning in the draft plan were not shown the draft SPP and were told that the "buffer zone" around the extractive resource was to protect them from dust and noise. The resource overlays differed significantly from the State Government draft KRA maps and the resource area was termed "Area of Protected Extractive Resource Precinct" and the buffer was called an "Area of Potential Extractive or Mining Resource Influence".

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2006

In 2006 the then Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a Development Approval for a Material Change of Use for Environmentally Relevant Activities (2.62 Mb) for the quarry, in response to an application from Alberton Investments Pty Ltd (Neilsen's) in 2005. The main condition was that the EPA approved an extraction and processing rate of "greater than 100,000 tonnes per annum". This was later amended in 2009 to read "greater than 100,000 up to 1,000,000 tonnes per annum". Part 3 of the EPA Assessment (532 Kb) report stated, under Public Interest "No public submissions or enquiries have been received for the application. The environmental values of the local community will be protected by the proposed conditions". The reason no submissions were made is because the public was not made aware of this application for a MCU. To add insult to injury, the assessment report then quoted (part 4) the landholder as stating that "he and his rural neighbours welcomed the operation of the mine and had no issues with noise, blasting, or dust emissions". This is a most extraordinary statement to place before an investigating team. We are yet to hear if any of the landholder's rural neighbours knew anything about the expansion or revival of this quarry. Most have already stated that they were completely unaware of expansion proposals.

Noosa Plan 2006 was gazetted. The Natural Resources Overlay map, (1.58 Mb) which is still current, inaccurately shows much of the proposed Neilsen's quarry pit shell as lying outside the resource/processing area, in the separation area. The biodiversity overlay map shows this area designated by Council as an "Environmental Protection Area". On the Strategy map this large portion of Neilsens proposed pit shell was designated an "Area of Ecological Significance". It has taken months of argument from concerned community members before Council staff admitted that their plan is wrong. There is, after all, a Noosa Plan Code of Conduct demanding that these overlays are accurate.

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2007

Minister Anna Bligh called in and rejected a development (493 Kb) application for a $400 m golf course resort near Kin Kin on the grounds that it was in conflict with the SEQ Regional Plan. In a press release she stated that the Government's vision for the area was one where pristine rural lifestyle is maintained, with small industry and B & B accommodation only. She further stated that the area lacked the infrastructure required for a resort golf course. No mention of a massive quarry proposal less than five kilometres away. The resort developers had promised the community many millions of dollars worth of road upgrades as part of their commitment to the Kin Kin community. We have heard nothing from Neilsen's or their joint venture partners about one cent being put back into our community from the proceeds of their mega quarry.

"SPP-2/07 Protection of Extractive Resources" was gazetted and became law. Here is the gazetted description of Kin Kin KRA-57-Wahpunga Range. More than 30 freehold properties surrounding the Wahpunga Resource (KRA-57) map were included in a "Separation Area" with no consultation. Development restrictions were almost immediately imposed by Council within the Separation Area, with seemingly normal applications being approved subject to extraordinary conditions which applicants could not afford to meet.

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2009

Sunshine Coast Regional Council amended 2006 Noosa Plan to roll in the provisions of SPP 2/07 - KRA-57. Not one landholder effected by this was aware of the change in status from a Council resource overlay to a State Government protected resource. No effort was made by Council to bring this to the attention of the public. Later objections were met with the standard reply "You had the opportunity to object during the discussion period in 2008". This is disingenuous as the policy became law in 2007, before Council rolled it into their draft plan of 2008.

Mid year, KKCG became aware of the enlivening of quarry activity, but had no details.

In September, workers doing test drilling told drinkers at the bar in Kin Kin Hotel of the size of the development.

In October, an examination of Council documents revealed the extent of this enormous development proposal. Neilsen's advisers continued to enlarge the planned pit size, (high definition file - 5 Mb) so that almost the whole of Lot 259 (60 ha) is now committed to some form of quarry development. This is a vast increase over the 10 ha originally applied for in 1987. This enlarged pit shell design has not been submitted to Council (telephone advice from SCRC Senior Town Planner July 2010) but stripping of overburden in May 2010 and blasting in July has the appearance of them working to the latest plan rather than the 2005 plan.

KKCG began to inform the local community. A public meeting was held in December, where a vast majority of 200 or more people present were opposed to the quarry going ahead. KKCG wrote to the landowner, quarry operator, SCRC and local politicians in an attempt to have proposed quarry work postponed until the legality of the approval could be tested. No response of any substance was received.

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2010

Neilsen's began heavy machinery work on the site in January. Their EPA development approval was due to lapse on 6th February 2010 unless work had "substantially started".

With no other avenue left to us to challenge this proposed mega quarry, KKCG sought legal advice and subsequently began an action in the Planning and Environment Court to have the matter of the legality of the approval heard. Work continued at the site unabated. Soon after documents were filed in the P & E Court, Councillors and Council staff were apparently advised not to communicate with Kin Kin residents about the quarry. This left us with no local representation and made even seeking basic information from Council difficult. This was a very low point for Kin Kin residents, which continued until well after the court hearing in October 2010. Support for the mega quarry by some Councillors who have not been willing to admit it publicly has been a disappointment, but correspondence obtained by us under legal exchange of documents has revealed the truth.

In February, normal seasonal rainfall caused a significant run off from the quarry site into Wahpunga Creek. Despite an official warning, a subsequent run off occurred and Neilsen's were fined $2000.

Also in February, SCR Council was, according to published agenda items, supposed to debate the quarry situation. Instead, a staff-compiled report, (83 Kb) containing many errors of fact, was compressed into a few lines, presented to Council from Committee, and passed without debate. (25 Kb) Despite all Councillors being warned twice by email from a Kin Kin resident that the documents contained errors, no Councillor, to our knowledge, was willing to request any further investigation.

The size of the quarry (as it has been by Neilsen's) was represented as "small to medium", being described as having EPA approval for extraction UP TO 100,000 tonnes per annum. In fact, the quarry has EPA approval to extract up to 1 million tonnes per annum, which puts it in the high end of large production. Similarly, Council staff provided a map to Councillors which purported to show the location of the quarry, when in fact the arrow indicated the old Council quarry which is at the far northern extremity of the Neilsen's works plans and nowhere near the area shown by the landholder in his original application. The fact that they also, at the same time, supplied Councillors with a copy of Neilsen's works plans, which cover a different area of Lot 259 to that indicated on the Council map, seems to have escaped the notice of Councillors completely.

In July, our President wrote this letter to Premier Anna Bligh, pointing out the inconsistency between her rejection of a 2007 development application, mainly on the grounds of a lack of infrastructure and incompatibility with the rural nature of Kin Kin, and acceptance of this mega quarry which ticks all the same negative boxes.

Surely it is time our elected representatives began to take this matter seriously. Since 1987 there has been no opportunity for any member of the public to find out that a large commercial quarry was planned to be developed near Kin Kin.

  • No Noosa Plan, including the current one, has ever described the quarry or shown its location correctly on a map.
  • No normal Council searches would have discovered anything more than the original approval.
  • Specific written questions about the size and scope of the quarry met with misleading answers.
  • Councillors appear to have had little knowledge of the quarry, or any desire until recently to satisfy themselves regarding the problems we have raised about its proposed size and scope.

On 10th August we wrote to all Sunshine Coast Regional Council Councillors to try to bring them up to date with the situation which has been allowed to develop here and seeking their leadership in solving the dilemma.

Following intensive lobbying by dozens of Kin Kin Community Group members and supporters over several weeks, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council voted unanimously on 15th September to issue a Show Cause Notice to the quarry operators. The actual resolution, following a confidential closed discussion by Council, reads:

(SPC) ITEM 5.1.1 CONFIDENTIAL - NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE - EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY, 105 SHEPPERSONS LANE, KIN KIN
Council Resolution (OM10/256)
Moved: Councillor R Abbot
Seconded: Councillor L Brennan
That Council:
(a) note the advice of the current status of the application from the Kin Kin Community Group to the Planning and Environment Court; and
(b) further note that officers are preparing a Show Cause Notice for issue to the operators of the Extractive Industry, 105 Sheppersons Lane, Kin Kin, regarding outstanding planning matters.
Carried unanimously.

The Show Cause Notice was issued by the Council for alleged non-compliance with certain conditions of the 2003 extension. The operators had a limited time within which to respond to the notice. Council officers have advised that the Show Cause Notice was challenged by Neilsens on legal grounds and revoked. Although not all the conditions required under the Show Cause Notice have been met, SCRC has not issued a new Show Cause Notice. The council resolution requiring officers to do so has therefore failed and been ignored.

An important affidavit, unchallenged in the P & E Court was submitted by Robert Holland, Traffic Engineer. (2.6 Mb pdf). It lays out, in great detail, the inadequacy of the road infrastructure around Kin Kin, particularly the Pomona Kin Kin Rd. To bring this road up to standard would require a pavement width of 7 metres, with a further sealed shoulder one metre wide on each side.

Hearing of our application in the Planning and Environment Court began on Monday 4th October 2010 at Maroochydore, with evidence and submissions concluding on 14th. Judge Dodds reserved his decision. The Court's decision was handed down on 21st December and was devastating to us. Our application was dismissed on all points. See the full Judgement here (2.9mb PDF). Judge Dodds appears to have relied heavily on a belief that the Noosa Council and SCRC have supported the quarry since its beginning, in opposition to the views of the Kin Kin Community Group. No wonder we have never been able to find a single Councillor who would support us in opposing this mega development. It is now completely in Council's court. They have allowed it to happen and now they have to control it. In the light of the recently completed court proceedings, we wish them luck with that!

Also in December, sludge dredged from the containment ponds and dumped on the bank of Wahpunga creek, outside the catchment of the sediment ponds, was washed into Wahpunga creek by heavy rainfall. Following our complaints DERM once again commenced legal action for what we regard was a deliberate, major and measurable environmental breach, but lawyers for the operator caused DERM to withdraw the action. At the end of the month the wall of the main sediment dam collapsed and sediment poured into Wahpunga Creek. Despite photographic and video evidence being made available to DERM, no punitive action was taken.

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2011

January. We obtained, under public register legislation, a copy of an Environmental Protection Order (EPO) issued by Department Environment and Resource Management (DERM) on 17th December 2010 against Neilsens Quality Gravels. This EPO was revoked on 4 February and a new EPO issued on 11 March 2011. See a copy of the March EPO here (147 kb PDF). Appendix 1 to this EPO outlines DERM's evidence for issuing the EPO. It makes very interesting reading!

This latest EPO refers primarily to the inadequacy and failure of sedimentation controls at the Kin Kin quarry and imposes deadlines for compliance, ending on 31 October 2011. Interestingly, this EPO still relies on a sedimentation control system for a One in Five year 24 hour rainfall event, the lowest acceptable level. It does not specifically refer to the significant runoff from sludge dumps deposited by Neilsens directly in the catchment of Wahpunga Creek (outside the catchment area of the sediment ponds). Nor did it address the issue of the collapse of the main sediment dam wall. Considering Neilsens were warned and then fined in February and March 2010, it was to be expected any significant runoff of contaminated water in December 2010 would have attracted an automatic fine of significance. DERM appears to have granted Neilsens more time to improve a system which can never be adequate whilst based on the minimum standard. By comparison, Parklands Blue Metal at Yandina Creek have been required to agree to a One in One Hundred Year 24 hour rainfall event system for their proposed quarry, although its catchment area is smaller than Neilsens Kin Kin quarry and its working faces are lower.

The new EPO repeats earlier calls for measures to be taken for "directing clean stormwater surface flows from undisturbed areas on the escarpment above the quarry away from the contaminated stormwater collection systems". (11c). This makes it clear that DERM is expecting extraction to begin at the bottom of the quarry area, despite the fact that the approved plans call for quarrying to begin at the top. If quarrying began where it is supposed to, no diversion drains could be implemented below the working benches except those directed into the sediment ponds, otherwise sediment-laden water would leave the site untreated, in breach of the plans. The approved plans always called for a diversion drain along the boundary of Murrays Rd to divert stormwater around the quarry, above the first stage benches at the top of the escarpment. Any diversion drain across the escarpment below the Murrays Rd boundary drain would therefore bypass the sediment containment dams and be in breach of the approved plans.

Neilsens have made no effort in 18 months of site activity, to construct this top drain, or the access roads to the stage one benches at the top of the escarpment. This is very steep country, susceptible to landslides. They are therefore many months away from being able to legally extract material from the site. There is ample tangible evidence that DERM has agreed to allow Neilsens to begin extraction from the bottom of the site - a clear breach of the approved staged management plans.

March. After a very successful public meeting held at Kin Kin to discuss the way forward, we sent this letter to all Sunshine Coast Regional Councillors. The letter contained 111 signatures and particularly seeks Council leadership in determining output limits on this quarry.

In June, former Noosa Mayor, Noel Playford, sent this letter to one of our members, explaining his recollection of the rural nature of the quarry. The letter is significant because it reinforces a council understanding and intent that the quarry should not be a large commercial operation.

July. On 21 July a DERM Manager wrote a reply to a series of questions asked by one of our members. Of particular interest was the statement that "the final holding capacity of all of the onsite sedimentation dams has been determined by an independent erosion and sediment control expert. The main sedimentation dam has been designed to hold 27 ML (megalitres). The cumulative total volume holding capacity onsite has been calculated to be 29.2 ML". What this tells us is that the site has now been allowed to go ahead with holding capacity little more than a third the size which was approved in the original EPA approval of 2006, where it was clearly stated in supporting documentation as 72 ML. Independent expert or not, how can the sediment ponds be reduced from the inadequate ones originally approved by the EPA? The EPA had sought a larger control system, but Neilsens argued that the largest they could accommodate on the site was a 72 ML system. Had DERM agreed to our request to be given access to this "independent expert", as Neilsens have been given, we might have been able to negotiate a better outcome for the environment. As it is, we fail to see how a 29.2 ML containment system can contain a One in Five year 24 hour rainfall event. A highly qualified independent Botanist and Ecological Planner we consulted suggests that it is very poor science to plan for such a low standard as a One in Five year event, which would be tested to capacity regularly. Neilsens saw what happened when they received 180 mm in a couple of days last year. They called it an "exceptional rainfall event". We called it a couple of days of a good wet season.

Important section. Please read this rebuttal

Following a meeting our Quarry Action Group had with Cr Lew Brennan at Cooran on 1st August, (at which we were handed a printed information booklet), we sent this rebuttal to Cr Brennan, Mayor Bob Abbot and Council CEO. We did this, understanding that all our concerns about a proposed revised Quarry Management Plan would then be on the table. As our rebuttal contained allegations of, at best, Council incompetence and ignorance, it was expected that we would receive a detailed reply from the CEO. We did not receive a response (Update December 2013 and March 2016. Still no response). Read the document and you may see why Council failed to reply. They cannot explain the long list of disastrous decisions they have made in relation to this quarry. [NOTE. This file has been hacked from an external source in the past so if it is unreadable, please advise the webmaster.]

See this report from the RACQ (2 Mb pdf) - Pomona Kin Kin Road ranks as the 10th worst main road in Queensland and the worst ranked main road not categorised as a highway.

Also in December Neilsens submitted a revised Quarry Management Plan application to Council. This was the first application made by them to begin extraction from the bottom up, despite evidence as far back as March 2010 (obtained under RTI) that they intended to do so. This brought a period of over two years of contempt by the operator into the open, also exposing the fact that several Council and DERM officers had assisted Neilsens in the deception to deflect criticism from us as far back as July 2010.

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2012

On 24 January council officers made a recommendation to the Performance and Service Committee, seeking a $500,000 commitment from council to upgrade Sheppersons Lane "to facilitate the operation of the Kin Kin Quarry". The report suggests that Neilsens would match that amount in supply of quarry material for the road works. So, now we have a proposed $1 million project to upgrade a council lane, servicing only four properties. This must surely be painful for ratepayers to contemplate, when we are constantly being told there is no money to complete, for instance, the sealing of Dr Page's road, which carries a constant stream of traffic, including tour buses. See the extract from the PSC Agenda here. Write to council if you feel aggrieved about this use of council rates to support private enterprise.

Council officer advice that they are unable to force Neilsens to contribute to the rebuilding and maintenance of Sheppersons Lane because of the old approval works both ways. Council has already fulfilled its obligations under the old approval as well and is not obliged to upgrade (and especially seal) the road just because Neilsens need it to operate.

In January we made a submission to the Sunshine Coast Council opposing the revised Quarry Management Plan submitted by Neilsens in December 2011. See a copy of our submission here.

On 15th February 2012 three of our members, Allan Bonsall, Allen Packer and Ian Bates made a presentation to the Council Strategy and Planning Committee. See the text of our presentation here.

It should be noted that almost all the concerns raised in our presentation to the SPC on 15 February were put in writing to Cr Brennan, Mayor Bob Abbot and Council CEO in September 2011 but we received no reply. (See that important document, which has never received a reply, listed above under 2011).

In an email dated 5 March 2012, Kate Heckelmann, Planner Regional Services Division, Strategy and Governance, Department of Local Government and Planning, Maroochydore, wrote:

"A Key Resource Area (KRA) can be amended if there is new information regarding, for example, the extent of the resource or a change in the actual or potential contribution of the resource to the development of the surrounding region....an officer from DEEDI... has advised that the State Planning Policy 2/07 is due for review in 2017 and in the mean time there is no further review planned unless substantial evidence for a review can be presented.

Public notification and a submissions period is a requirement for any such review to take place".

With this in mind see entry for January 2013 regarding a Single State Planning Policy.

In July we began a petition against the revised Quarry Management Plan. Click the petition image to see the petition we submitted to Sunshine Coast Council against the revised Kin Kin Quarry Management Plan.

GoPetition

Council approved the revised Quarry Management Plan in part on 26 July 2012, on a motion put forward by Cr Wellington. See an extract from the Sunshine Coast Council Minutes here. The Appendix B included in the resolution, containing 17 amendments, can be seen here.

The quarry operator objected to some of the amendments to the QMP passed by Council and negotiations behind closed doors began between Council officers and Neilsens.

In December 2012 a group of Kin Kin residents met Cr Green and Planning Officer Weychardt at Kin Kin during a round of draft planning scheme discussions. As there was much concern about the Key Resource Area (KRA) implications on the community both Cr Green and Mr Weychardt advised us to make detailed submissions to Council. Many residents did exactly that within the submission period. See the Kin Kin Community Group submission (which was typical) here.

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2013

In May, Council again voted on the revised QMP. Most of the amendments we had fought for (which had been passed by Council last year) were now removed or modified in favour of the operator. Council passed the revised QMP unanimously at its general meeting on 23 May 2013. See the detailed Agenda Item (officer recommendations) here.

The 2013 revised QMP (six files) as passed by Council can be read here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

See an extract of the Council Minutes for this approval here.

In June several residents and the KKCG made submission to the State Government concerning the draft Single State Planning Policy. A typical submission was about the inequity of the Key Resource Area (KRA-57) which adversely effects many residents of Kin Kin.

A suggested boundary realignment diagram was also submitted.

We made a further submission, objecting to Council's submission which we say did not include any of our concerns, expressed over more than four years, about the Key Resource Area.

On 3 December the new Single State Planning Scheme came into effect and all our objections to the Key Resource Area (KRA-57) have been ignored. This legislation was so sneaky that it not only altered many existing KRA's, to the detriment of thousands of Queenslanders, but it introduced a further 60 new KRA's without adequate public consultation. This has the immediate effect of ripping millions of dollars off property values around the state, with no avenue for compensation. There must be a legal challenge to this iniquitous legislation.

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2014

January - The de-amalgamated Noosa Council began to function and we began negotiations with Councillors and staff regarding the ongoing problem of the Kin Kin Quarry.

March 25, Council Infrastructure & Services Committee recommended that Council pass this report regarding Sheppersons Lane (the gravel road being used by quarry traffic to reach the state road). We had lobbied hard for Council to enforce condition 3 of the extractive industry approval which requires the quarry operator to maintain Sheppersons Lane.

On the same day, Council's Planning & Organisation Committee recommended that Council adopt this report regarding the quarry.(3.79 Mb)

April 3 - Council adopted the recommendations of the various committees regarding the quarry, with one amendment as shown here and another amendment as shown here.

October - a KKCG member made a complaint to Noosa Council, alleging that Neilsens were operating outside the contraints of their approval.

December - Council officers inspected the quarry site, investigating the allegations.

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2015

January - During a further Council inspection, officers concluded that Neilsens had breached the conditions of their approval.

13 August - Council lodged an application to the Planning & Environment Court seeking declarations:

A. Declarations pursuant to section 456 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 ("SPA") that: (there follow numerous grounds for the application)

B. An enforcement order pursuant to s.601 SPA to restrain the First Respondent from conducting any blasting or extraction of rock in the Preserved Area without an effective development approval for operational works authorising such blasting or extraction.

C. An enforcement order pursuant to s.601 SPA to restrain the First Respondent from undertaking any blasting or extraction in the Preserved Area without an effective development approval for a material change of use authorising such blasting or extraction.

Respondents are Neilsens Quality Gravels Pty Ltd and four Pty Ltd companies representing the landowners.

To see how far back our position on this was clearly stated to Council please read our rebuttal in 2011.

Noosa Council CEO submitted a 639 page Cerificate to the court in support of Council's case against Neilsens. Council's legal team then entered without prejudice negotiations with Neilsens. However in an affidavit provided to the P&E Court on 13 August 2015, Senior Council Planning Officer Kerri Coyle stated:

11. Rob Snowden indicated that the 2014 Plan could be updated in 5 years as envisaged by the plan and that this was the nature of quarries. I indicated that I considered the blasting/excavation was outside the approved area in the 2014 Plan and the plan required updating now to address the departure. I advised that I considered that it was important to update the 2014 Plan now, in particular to review the stormwater management strategies for the quarry.

13. I requested that the following actions be undertaken: a) They should cease all blasting works outside the approved short term development area footprint until an updated management plan was considered by Council. Rod Huntley agreed that the 2014 Plan should be updated now.

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2016

5 February - Not surprisingly in view of Ms Coyles affidavit, Neilsens Quality Gravels Pty Ltd lodged an application in the Planning & Environment Court, seeking orders

1. That condition 2 of the approval by the Court on 13 May 1988 in relation to Lot 259 on Crown Plan MCH187 (previously described as portion 259 Murray's Road) (the Land) for town planning consent (the Approval) be changed to read: "The use be undertaken generally in accordance with the Quarry Management Plan dated February 2016."

2. Such further orders as the Court deems appropriate.

Noosa Council was named as the respondent. It appears Council officers almost immediately took the position that it would be better to consider the proposed new Quarry Management Plan to attempt to negotiate better outcomes rather than have the court order it without change. Five community members who had been active in opposing the quarry were invited to meet with Noosa Mayor, Council solicitor and planning staff to discuss the issue. As no documentation was made available to these community members regarding the new Quarry Management Plan they were adamant that the meeting could not be in any way considered as community consultation as had been promised by Ms Coyle in her public statement to the media.

On written advice from Mayor Tony Wellington that 'Council would like your response to contain both what you see as improvements in the new QMP and what gives you cause for concern. If we can have that response by Friday, then we can provide it to councillors before the Monday morning General Committee meeting where the matter will be considered in confidential session', on very short notice four community members were given access to the new Quarry Management Plan, during which time they identified what they believed to be shortcomings in the plan. They once again expressed verbally and in writing that Council could not interpret their comments as community consultation. Three letters to council expressly objected to the new plan on environmental issues. One specifically drew attention to the fact that, by removing any requirement for sequential extraction from the top down, there was no legal requirement in the new plan for any rehabilitation to ever occur as benches were exhausted. By extracting from the bottom up the quarry could operate without enforceable rehabilitation for the remainder of the approval (until 2033) without exhausting the reserves at the foot of the site. This would expose a huge area to continual erosion and place an uncontrollable sediment load on the inadequate sediment controls. All Councillors were sent copies of these letters before voting on the QMP.

As can be seen from the above, at no time was the community asked or advised to comment on the changes to the approval as proposed by Neilsens. All our attention was diverted by Council to commenting on the proposed Quarry Management Plan. We did this to the best of our limited ability.

Ms Coyle then swore an affidavit to the P & E court which included the clause:

18. While the residents raised many matters of concern to Council, in my opinion, such matters were not directed specifically to the proposed change to the development application but were concerned more generally with the operations and history of the Kin Kin Quarry.

This was directly aimed at satisfying the court requirement that, given an opportunity, a person would be unlikely to submit a properly made objection to the proposed changes to the development application before the court. It was clearly stated by the community members consulted that they did not regard the two meetings as an opportunity or even an invitation to submit properly made objections against the changes as they were fully aware that such objections could only be made if the new Quarry Management Plan was treated as a Material Change of Use or a new application was being made. Council clearly set out to mislead these community members and the court sided with Ms Coyle and Council's compliant legal team in approving the changes to the approval.

The P & E court ruled in favour of the changes to the development approval sought by Neilsens which effectively removed all impediments to their operations which had been the subject of Council's application to the court for declarations on 13 August 2015. Significantly, these 2016 changes to the development approval removed large sections of the approval relied on by Council, Neilsens and the landowner when they successfully defended the approval against the Kin Kin Community Group Inc in the P & E court in 2010. It is noted that Neilsens had used an almost identical strategy to settle a long and expensive legal battle with Brisbane City Council over their Brendale/Bald Hills operation. Noosa Council appeared to many within the community to be out of its depth when dealing with this company.

The Quarry now has a wide-open approval which has few of the restrictions placed on it under all previous plans. Despite Council's claims that the approval is much better than the old ones, time will show that this company cannot be trusted to act responsibly and we believe the environment and the community will be the losers. The claim by their adviser, Groundwork Plus, that the quarry will have a net positive effect on the environment remains so much hot air.

Ongoing

To appreciate the extreme size of this planned Kin Kin mega quarry, see this perspective page.

For a comprehensive time line and description of the maps and plans relating to this proposed quarry see this large file (4 Mb).

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