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ACF challenges Adani Carmichael coal mine

The Great Barrier Reef is in the spotlight at conservation groups argue with Adani mining
Adani has faced conservation groups in court over potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

Adani is heading back to the Federal Court, with the Australian Conservation Foundation lodging fresh papers to challenge the Carmichael coal mine.

The ACF lodged papers with the Federal Court, applying to challenge environment minister Greg Hunt’s approval of the Galilee Basin mine.

A statement from the environmental group said the minister failed to consider whether the impact of climate pollution, resulting from burning the mine’s coal, would be inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations to protect the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

They will also argue that the minister failed to take into account the future of the black-throated finch, which would be pushed closer to extinction if the mine were to go ahead.

“The Great Barrier Reef is loved by Australians and overseas visitors, but it will soon be gone if we allow climate change to keep accelerating,” ACF president Geoff Cousins said.

“Coral reef scientists are telling us in just a few decades warmer waters could bleach the reef beyond recognition. This would be a tragedy for Australia and the world.

“Minister Hunt has acknowledged climate change is affecting the Great Barrier Reef, yet the approval of the Carmichael mine will create more pollution, make global warming worse and irreversibly damage the Reef.

“ACF believes the Turnbull government’s re-approval of a coal mine that would produce more climate pollution than New Zealand does annually is reckless and irresponsible.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the announcement by the ACF represents “yet another chapter in the green activists’ campaign to disrupt and delay coal project approvals in the state and federal courts”.

“The green activists continue to follow to the letter the anti-coal strategy document Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom, in which it states: ‘Legal challenges will draw on a range of arguments relating to local impacts on wetlands, endangered species, aquifers and the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, as well as global climate impacts’,” Mr Roche said.

“While the court action cites global emissions and the supposed effect on the Great Barrier Reef, if successful this action could cause an increase in global emissions, as Queensland’s lower-emission coal will stay in the ground, therefore coal demand from India will be met from other countries with higher-emission coal, such as Indian or Indonesian coal.

“The prospects for the ACF challenge to be successful are remote – the argument they are putting has already been rejected by the Queensland Land Court multiple times and most recently by the Queensland Supreme Court.

“However, the win the ACF is looking for is a further delay in this huge job generating project.

“The vexatious litigation by the inner-city latte-sipping activists has to stop. It is preventing tens of thousands of much-needed jobs for Queenslanders, and has to be ruining Australia’s reputation as a place to do business. Our federal and state politicians must put a stop to the green activists’ ‘lawfare’.”

We know the green activists don’t expect to win the legal challenges, but is using the ‘lawfare’ tactic to disrupt and delay projects in the hope that the investors will give up and walk away.

Mr Roche commented on the ACF and the Environmental Defenders Office tax-deductible status, which essentially means that the Queenslanders who are depending on the jobs from these projects, are funding the court action through the tax subsidy to the activists.

“Enough is enough, we need the laws changed as a matter of urgency so that Queensland can benefit from the thousands of construction jobs being held up in the Queensland and federal court systems,” he said.

ACF will be represented in Federal Court by Saul Holt QC and the Environmental Defenders Office, Queensland.

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