‘Latest trick’ to delay Adani megamine
ENVIRONMENTALISTS have launched a new front in their relentless campaign to try to block the Adani mine project.
The Environmental Defenders Office Queensland has added another ground to its existing court action challenging the Federal Government's approval of the resources company's proposed pipeline.
The move has been slammed by the Queensland Resources Council as yet another "trick" in blatant delaying tactics.
EDO Qld is appealing for donations for a fighting fund to "turbocharge our legal work around the Carmichael megamine".
The group last year lodged a Federal Court challenge seeking a judicial review of the decision to allow assessment of Adani's North Galilee Water Scheme to proceed without the "water trigger" being applied to examine the potential impact on water resources.
On Friday, EDO Qld's lawyers added an extra ground to that action, arguing that the federal Environment Minister failed to properly consider more than 1000 public comments in submissions on the pipeline.
It could add months to the process of reaching a final decision on whether the Carmichael mine in central Queensland, which will create up to 3800 jobs when operational, is allowed to go ahead.
"If we are successful, the minister will need to go back to square one and properly consider every one of the valid comments before making a new decision on the NGWS (North Galilee Water Scheme)," says an email to EDO Qld's support base.
It says there are "serious questions'' about whether the views of experts, farmers, community groups and others were ignored in the decision-making process.
"The consideration of public comments is a vital part of the assessment process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act."
Adani's pipeline proposal would enable the company to pump up to 12 billion litres of water a year from the Belyando/Suttor River catchment.
"The fact that there were more than 2400 overall comments ... shows an unprecedented level of concern about this project and its impacts on our environment," EDO Qld says.
But Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest move was just another example of the so-called "lawfare'' used by greenies to tie up projects in the legal system for years.
"Attempts at endless delays are nothing new from activists. They have been exposed again and again, and Queenslanders are now aware of their tricks.
"A few activists might treat their deliberate stalling tactics as a game, but to every other Queenslander, it means lost jobs and less money in the bank to build schools, roads and railways," Mr Macfarlane said.
"Booming resources exports are keeping the Queensland Budget in the black.
"In just a few weeks, we'll again see the value of resources to the federal budget's bottom line.
"Any funding promises from either side of politics in this election campaign will be built off the back of resources.
"But we can't take this success for granted."
An Adani spokesman said: "The EDO is continuing an anti-Adani and anti-mining agenda, they have represented multiple activist clients in many cases and lost every one.
"The EDO has long supported an anti-Coal strategy paper that said they would use the Courts to try to delay projects, they continue to do this.
"What we will do is remain focused on delivering new jobs for Queensland."
The company says the water to be taken is less than 1 per cent of the annual flow available in the catchment.