More from Denis Wilson of The Nature of Robertson:
At least some groups are speaking out against this decision by Tony Burke.
I have to wonder why the Barcaldine Mayor, who says this: We've seen such a mess in the Bowen Basin in places like Blackwater and other places - we've got a blank canvas, we've got a whole new ball game here - would still support this new and larger development.
Is he naive, stupid or corrupt or any other alternative you can suggest. I just don't get it.
Alpha coal mine 'devastating' for reef
By William Rollo
Environmentalists and farmers have criticised the Federal Government's approval of the Alpha coal and rail project in central Queensland.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has approved the multi-billion dollar project in the Galilee Basin, after four years of negotiations.
The Federal Government took over the responsibility for approving the project in May, saying the Queensland coordinator-general's conditions were inadequate.
The project has now been given the green light.
Peter Anderson from rural lobby group AgForce says landholders' concerns have been ignored.
"We were hoping that the Minister himself or his advisers making the decision would visit landholders and hear their concerns and we're bitterly disappointed that hasn't happened," he said.
"Landholders haven't been consulted and I have personally written to Minister Burke and haven't received a response."
Greenpeace says the project could jeopardise the Great Barrier Reef.
Georgina Woods from Greenpeace says the Federal Government criticised the state's handling of the project but the 19 environmental conditions placed on it still do not go far enough.
"It was shambolic then and it's still shambolic now," she said.
"We don't think that either government has given due consideration to the devastating environmental impacts this mine presents."
The North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) says approval of the coal development and the rail link to Abbot Point is a sad outcome for the Great Barrier Reef.
NQCC spokeswoman Wendy Tubman says the caveats cannot guarantee the health of the World Heritage area.
"What we see over and over again is a lovely environmental management plan produced and it is worth, to be honest, diddly squat because it just sits on a shelf and no-one takes any notice of it as far as we can see," she said.
Mr Burke says the reef will be protected and the assessment process was rigorous.
The conditions include developing a water quality management program to minimise the effects of run-off and coal dust on the reef.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Jenny Whitney says she believes the local tourism industry, which relies on the reef, will not be jeopardised by the mining project.
"I'm quite confident that the federal and state governments, who are the ones with the authority to impose conditions, are looking at our interests and ensuring that we are sustainable for tourism and industry and keeping that in balance," she said.
A western Queensland mayor says massive coal mines being planned in the Galilee Basin may help improve social services in the central west.
Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler says Alpha is one of several proposed in the basin and the development may help the community attract a permanent doctor and a paramedic.
He says thousands of jobs will be created.
"They seem to think they'll get the workforce, predominantly from within Australia - I haven't heard of about bringing in overseas workers for the construction phase but it is a lot of bodies on the ground," he said.
"We've seen such a mess in the Bowen Basin in places like Blackwater and other places - we've got a blank canvas, we've got a whole new ball game here."
First posted 10 hours 31 minutes ago