C25032: Stakeholder involvement in planning to maximise the benefits and acceptance of land packages post-coal-mining in Central Queensland

John Rolfe, Jo-Anne Everingham, Delwar Akbar and Susan Kinnear

This project sought to identify and evaluate models for stakeholder involvement in post-mining land use change issues in the Bowen Basin.

The key data collection method was four workshops with a cross section of stakeholders, held in Blackwater between February and September 2017.

Outcomes of the workshop discussions about factors relevant to post mining land use were:

  • Stakeholder engagement was viewed as important for planning end-of-mine land use change,
  • Grazing was viewed by stakeholders as a viable land use on post-mining lands.
  • Landholders will accept ‘packages’ of land that have a mix of productive and non-productive country types, and do not require every hectare of the property to be productive.
  • There was some support for some mining lands to be returned to native vegetation, but only as part of grazing properties.
  • Options for making post-mining land suitable for grazing enterprises would need to be negotiated on a case by case basis,
  • Ideally the planning and engagement would not be last-minute and the end-use landholder would be determined before mine closure, perhaps with the transition involving a lease arrangement followed by eventual purchase.
  • There was some more limited interest in other options for land use, such as biofuels or farming.

Five examples of stakeholder panels suitable to assess resource management issues were identified, and guidelines developed to match the type of engagement to the relevant framework and goals:

  • Community reference group
  • Special issue group
  • Community reference panel
  • Expert reference panel

Limited differences in views were identified between stakeholder groups in the workshops, indicating potential to generate agreement about post-mining land uses and ameliorate key concerns. The limited variation in views across different sectors also provided a baseline case for engagement and planning processes to develop consensus positions understood as general agreement or acceptability.

After stakeholder analysis and formation of panel/s, the process used across the workshops involved a sequence of five steps:

  • Identify relevant issues and areas where extra information is required (Workshop 1)
  • Individual priorities and interests for planning at site level (Workshop 2)
  • Expert input to refine planning. (Workshop 3)
  • Group planning exercises for post-mining land use change drawing on experience (Workshop 3)
  • Technical input to consolidate plans. Confirmation of stakeholder agreement to the final plan (Workshop 4)

Based on their experience of this process and examination of case studies, stakeholders discussed options and models for stakeholder panels: considering who, why, how, when and what. The results of the workshop process demonstrated how diversity in individual views could be consolidated through group discussion processes and other inputs over successive workshops to generate consensus views about post-mining land use change. However, challenges still remain to ensure that outcomes are consistent over time and space, given that options are context-sensitive, the stakeholders do not always agree and that group outcomes can vary with the individuals involved.

Rolfe, J., Everingham, J., Akbar, D. & Kinnear, S. (2018). C25032: Stakeholder engagement to maximise the benefits and acceptance of land packages for post mining leases. Brisbane: ACARP.

C25032: Stakeholder involvement in planning to maximise the benefits and acceptance of land packages post-coal-mining in Central Queensland