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Anti coal ‘charity’ launches new legal action against $21B coal project

Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Conservation Foundation

Anti mining activists, who claim to be philanthropists, are repeatedly using the judicial system to postpone a $21 billion coal development in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is once again challenging the Federal Government’s assessment of Adani Australia’s North Galilee Water Scheme at the Carmichael Coal Project, about 160km northwest of Clermont.

Climate change debate

“We are going back to court because the [Scott] Morrison government is breaking its own laws when assessing the water-guzzling pipeline Adani so desperately needs to build its mine,” an ACF spokesperson said in a newsletter asking for donations of up to $100 per supporter.

“This pipeline gives Adani the means to access 12.5 billion litres of precious water from some of our most drought-affected areas. That is 5000 Olympic swimming pools, every year, from a country already in drought – to service a mine that will make climate change even worse.”

The legal action came despite ACF losing its previous Federal Court case in December 2019 that failed to reverse the government’s original assessment. Activists maintain the government’s original assessment broke the law.

“This decision, we believe, is still as illegal as it was all those months ago,” the spokesperson said. “On that basis we are going back to court. This time the case will be decided on the fundamental legal issue – that the Morrison Government broke the law by not applying the water trigger in its assessment of Adani’s pipeline.”

Strip charity status

However, Adani questioned the foundation’s “lawfare tactic” to spend donations on using legal avenues to indefinitely delay work, and the conduct was unbecoming for the so-called charity organisation.

“These latest antics by the ACF make a mockery of the group’s status as a registered charity,” the proponent said in a public statement.

“The question that needs to be asked is whether it is acceptable for the ACF to maintain its charitable status and collect tax free dollars to fund political advocacy campaigns like this, which achieve little more than tying up the courts.”

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The proponent is confident the latest court challenge will fail and the project will ultimately deliver jobs and economic benefits as promised.

“Anti-mining activists and the so-called charities that fund and employ them have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at us to try and stop us building the Carmichael mine and rail project and they have failed,” Adani said.

“We are getting on with building the mine and rail project … we won’t be distracted by this latest lawfare tactic. We are providing jobs for regional Queenslanders and opportunities for businesses.”

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