Lucas Dow poses for a photograph at the Adani billboard in George st, Brisbane CBD. Monday February 11, 2019. (AAP image, John Gass)
Lucas Dow poses for a photograph at the Adani billboard in George st, Brisbane CBD. Monday February 11, 2019. (AAP image, John Gass)

Adani slams Bill for ‘empty environment symbolism’

ADANI will tell a State Government inquiry today that a Greens bill attempting to block mining in the Galilee Basin puts "empty environment symbolism" above Queenslanders.

The hearing for the Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill will be held in Brisbane today before moving to Moranbah tomorrow. Greens MP Michael Berkman introduced the bill last October, saying thermal coal mines and power stations needed to be phased out, while new mines in the Galilee were a "dangerous dead end".

The Queensland Law Society, which is expected to give evidence, has flagged concerns the Bill breaches "fundamental legislative principles", including parts that appear to have insufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals.

The Bill seeks to be retrospective, effectively terminating any existing coal mining leases in the Galilee Basin, affecting Adani and numerous other operators including Gina Reinhart's GVK Hancock Coal.

Chief executive Lucas Dow will tell the hearing that ­constructing the Carmichael mine will create long-term jobs and opportunities for ­communities, particularly in Townsville and Rockhampton, and provide revenue for vital government services like ­hospitals and schools.

He will also say that stopping the mine's development will not have an impact on ­global emissions, that fears local environmental impacts could not be managed was "unfounded" and that "alarmist predictions" made in the past by environmental backers of the Bill have proven to be unfounded.

"Those who back this Bill must believe environmental symbolism is more important than the welfare of Queenslanders who want jobs, and of communities who want a ­future," he will say.

"The Queensland Government has repeatedly stated that we have some of the most stringent environmental regulations in place in Queensland to protect habitats, the Great Artesian Basin, the Great ­Barrier Reef, waterways and ecosystems.

"The Carmichael Mine and other Galilee proponents have been subject to a rigorous approvals process. In our case we have worked through an eight-year approval process and must comply with more environmental conditions that any other mine developed to date in Queensland, and we have never shied away from these requirements and in doing so we can give the community confidence in our operations."

Eight northwest Queensland councils have called the proposed laws "duplicitous", with Flinders Shire Council Mayor Jane McNamara ­expected to give evidence via teleconference today.

The Queensland Resources Council, in an unlikely partnership with the powerful Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union, are also against the passing of the Bill. The Townsville branch of not-for-profit environmental group Wildlife Queensland, in a submission supporting the Bill, said the ­escalation of thermal coalmining would bring many threats through the clearing of mature woodland essential for the ­survival of koalas, echidnas, reptiles and many birds, ­including the black-throated finch.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker and CFMMEU Mining and Energy branch head Stephen Smyth are scheduled to give evidence at tomorrow's hearing in ­Moranbah.

 

Supplied undated image obtained Friday, July 14, 2017 of a southern black-throated finch. (AAP Image/Birdlife Australia, Eric Vanderduys)
Supplied undated image obtained Friday, July 14, 2017 of a southern black-throated finch. (AAP Image/Birdlife Australia, Eric Vanderduys)

Adani applies for extension to respond to Black-throated finch management plan