Adani Group today welcomed decisions by the Queensland Supreme Court to dismiss activist-led appeals against the granting of a Mining Lease and an Environmental Authority in relation to the company’s planned $21 billion Carmichael coal project.
The company said the decisions were further positive steps towards starting work in the September quarter of 2017 on the mine in central western Queensland and associated projects – a near 400km rail line and port expansion at Abbot Point.
Adani said it would now examine the full decision documents and make no further comment.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the claims dismissed today were two in a long list of green activist litigation that was being used to disrupt and delay multiple resource projects in Queensland.
“Land Services Coast and Country, through the taxpayer-funded Environmental Defenders Office, have today failed in their attempts to argue that the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage unlawfully granted the Environment Authority for the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine,” he said.
“The Burragubba case – which sources some funds from foreign entities and is connected to the Sunrise Project – made a claim against the granting of the mining lease.”
The QRC had repeatedly called on State and federal governments to fix the mechanisms that enabled activists to ‘disrupt and delay’ resource projects through a merry-go-round of litigation, he said.
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must stand behind his promise to overhaul the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and the Palaszczuk Government must continue with its reforms,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“The activists don’t ever expect to be successful with their layer upon layer of court cases and subsequent appeals. Their interest is only in further delaying projects from delivering real construction and production jobs. The activists’ tactics mean that the only jobs being created are for lawyers.
“And don’t forget, last month WikiLeaks revealed that Australian green activists have morphed into foreign-funded radical activists. Millionaires in the United States are funding activists in Australia, including the likes of Mr Burragubba, to ‘disrupt and delay’ resource projects that would provide jobs and an economic injection to regional Queensland.
“These tactics come straight out of the green activist strategy handbook Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom, where it details the court delaying tactics and names multiple activist groups involved.”
EDO Queensland’s chief executive officer and solicitor Jo-Anne Bragg expressed disappointment in the judgement on the Land Services of Coast and Country action to have environmental authority for the mine set aside.
“Our client’s case was that the decision by the Queensland Environment Department to issue an Environmental Authority to Adani for the Carmichael mine was not in compliance with the law,” she said.
“Today’s judgement is a loss for the people and a loss for our precious environment. It says the decision is not unlawful, but is not an endorsement of the merits of the mine.
“Our client’s case was that the department failed to comply with section 5 of the EP Act. Section 5 of the EP Act places a mandatory duty on decision-makers to best achieve the ecologically sustainable development purpose of the Act.
“That duty is a vital protection because it aims to ensure that Queensland’s environment is protected while allowing for development that improves total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.”.