The $21 billion Carmichael mine, rail and port project has escaped being subjected to further hurdles under the new Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016.
The Bill was passed with amendments that reduce the retrospective impact on some advanced projects like Adani’s by excluding them from duplicative processes if they have been through an EIS, been subject to Land Court challenges that included expert witnesses on groundwater, and are deemed by the Chief Executive of the Water Act to have had an adequate assessment on groundwater.
Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Patricia O’Callaghan said that this was good news for Adani Australia and great news for Townsville North Queensland.
“The Adani Australia project now moves significantly closer to breaking ground. We need jobs and we need them now,” she said.
“We welcome the Palaszczuk Government’s award of Critical Infrastructure Status for the Carmichael mine, rail and port project and the undertaking to clear the road blocks while balancing good environmental management”.
Ms O’Callaghan said Townsville Enterprise was focused on assisting and supporting Adani Australia in any way it could in order for the project to commence construction in 2017.
After spending more than $3.3 billion, plus $100 million in legal fees, Adani Australia could now move forward with the job of employing thousands of Queenslanders, she said.
The organisation was part of an open letter campaign late last month highlighting support for the Carmichael project. (See link below)
A State Opposition spokeswoman said the LNP had moved amendments to protect all advanced projects that had been subjected to an EIS between January 2014 and January 2015 that included public consultation and an assessment of groundwater, or that had been through a major Environmental Authority amendment application between October 15, 2015 and January 31, 2016.
This would have stopped duplicative approval processes for groundwater impacts for:
- Adani’s Carmichael coal project
- Byerwen coal project
- Baralaba North continued operations
- East End No. 5 project
- Elimatta project
- Moranbah South project
- New Acland Stage 3
- South Galilee Coal
- Hail Creek
- Kestrel expansion
Labor amendments narrowed the exemptions, she said, leaving projects such as the New Acland Stage 3 proposal (which is still before the Land Court) and Rio Tinto’s Kestrel expansion facing further processes for groundwater approvals.(See link below)
Adani Australia chief executive officer Jeyakumar Janakaraj thanked all MPs for supporting the amendments that provided transitional relief for Adani’s project based on the company’s advanced approvals status and the rigorous science based examinations including water management that had already been undertaken.
“I give particular credit to the Premier who recently announced in Townsville that she wanted to clear the barriers,” Mr Janakaraj said.
“By recognising an area of concern in this Bill that might have opened up a new line of activist delays and addressing it, the Premier and her Government has been true to their word.
“We are very encouraged the Government did recognise the balance between its commitment on water licensing and acknowledging that this work has already been done in our case, and that the new provisions as originally drafted risked unintended duplication and activist appeals.
“We look forward to continuing working with the Premier and the State Government – as we have with Federal and Local governments – to making these projects a reality in the interest of jobs and investment.”