The Queensland Coordinator-General has signed off on the rail line that will connect Australia’s largest coal mine to the port of Abbot Point, near Bowen.
The 300-kilometre line will transport coal from Adani’s proposed $16 billion Carmichael mine, about 160 kilometres north-west of Clermont.
Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says the conditional approval is a key decision to ‘unlock’ the resource-rich Galilee Basin.
"Construction such as this will have some impact, but we have to mitigate those impacts wherever we can identify them."
The conditions imposed by the Coordinator-General relate mainly to groundwater and protections for flora and fauna.
The Indian mining company will also have to negotiate land access agreements with affected landholders and must supply the Government with revised flood-modelling before construction can start.
However, the approval comes as a Queensland parliamentary inquiry investigates the lawfulness of the State Government’s move in June to establish the Galilee Basin State Development Area (SDA).
The SDA boundary includes 74 properties and sets out two 500m-wide corridors for rail infrastructure to be built between proposed mines in the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point.
Mr Seeney, in a statement to the Queensland Country Hour, says the approval is quite separate to the parliamentary inquiry.
"The Parliamentary Committee is investigating the process used to declare the Galilee Basin State Development Area and its inquiry provides further opportunity for the community to have input into the two-year consultation process already undertaken to declare the SDA.
"The committee’s report, when finalised, will be given serious consideration by the State Government."
Clermont grazier Paula Heelan, a member of the Corridor to Coast group of landholders, is campaigning for the SDA to be redesigned.
Mrs Heelan is hoping the inquiry may offer a ‘glimmer of hope’ to her cause.
"We’ve been asking for years to consider moving it to the west of the Belyando River, on higher ground, so there’s no risk of flood damage."
Mrs Heelan says the SDA cuts through prime grazing land.
"A lot of landholders will never accept it, but if the government would look at putting it in a more practical place, things would be much better."
Construction of the line is expected to take two years at a cost of $2.2 billion.
The final approval for the rail project now falls to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who is expected to make a decision by the end of September.