The Federal Government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland, which would have been one of the largest coal mines in the world, has been overturned in the Federal Court of Australia this morning.
Environmental Legal Centre EDO NSW, representing the Mackay Conservation Group, challenged the approval given by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to the $16.5 billion project.
“The decision of the Court to set aside the Carmichael mine’s federal approval was based on a failure by the Minister to have regard to conservation advices for two Federally-listed vulnerable species, the Yakka Skink and Ornamental Snake. This kind of error in the decision making process is legally fatal to the Minister’s decision,” EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said, according to a report by EDO.
“The conservation advices were approved by the Minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland.
“The law requires that the Minister consider these conservation advices so that he understands the impacts of the decision that he is making on matters of National Environmental Significance, in this case the threatened species.
“The case also alleged that the Minister failed to consider global greenhouse emissions from the burning of the coal, and Adani’s environmental history, however these matters are left unresolved before the Court.”
The mine is now without legal authority to commence construction or operate.
“It will be up to the Minister now to decide whether or not to approve the mine again, taking into account the conservation advices and any other information on the impacts of the project,” Ms Higginson said.
Lock the Gate’s National President Drew Hutton welcomed the decision saying even the courts were now recognizing this was “the end of coal”.
“We call on the Queensland and Federal governments to take the opportunity now to stop trying to swim against the world tide and join the timely move away from fossil fuels,” he said.
“Queensland Mines Minister Lynham is so far sticking to the ‘jobs, jobs jobs’ mantra but it’s been proven time and time again that there aren’t many jobs in the coal industry but there are so many downsides for our water, our foodlands, our environment and our communities.
“Minister Hunt and Minister Lynham should grab this opportunity while they can so that history will judge them to be forward-thinkers and our economic and environmental saviours, not plodders with their heads stuck in the coal slurry.”