Queensland premier Campbell Newman is pushing for the development of the Galilee Basin coal projects, going as far as telling Australian prime minister Tony Abbott to "get out of the way and let this government get on with taking the state forward economically."
"I said without any hesitation that we need to see the massive Galilee Basin coal projects approved as soon as possible, because they will see thousands of jobs created over the next few years and billions of dollars investment in the state," Newman told ABC radio.
The Galilee Basin region in Queensland is being staked out by the resources industry for large-scale coal exports. GVK Hancock Coal, a joint venture between Indian firm GVK and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting, plans to build two mines, a railway line and an expanded port at Abbot Point, near Bowen, in order to export coal by 2017, the Guardian reported.
An $8.8 billion mine and rail project from Waratah Coal has also been approved by the Queensland government and now requires sign-off from the federal government.
The Queensland government also approved a $15 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) facility at Gladstone, demanding that the federal government make a decision within 30 days on whether to allow it. The Queensland government signaled a further expansion of mining, announcing a plan to develop the state's reserves of uranium.
The incoming Coalition government has promised to create state-run "one-stop shops" for environmental approvals, with the aim of speeding up the process and cutting so-called green tape.
Conservationists are scathing about the idea, saying the states cannot be trusted to protect the environment.
There are also question marks over the economic – as well as environmental – impact of the mines, following the revelation by Glencore that it is ditching its $7 billion Wandoan coal project in Queensland.
Speaking at an investor presentation in London, Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said he was wary of creating oversupply in the market, given the falling global price of thermal coal.