Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk arrives at the Port of Townsville with state MP's Aaron Harper and Scott Stewart. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk arrives at the Port of Townsville with state MP's Aaron Harper and Scott Stewart. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Greenie groups could mount legal battles against Adani

CONSERVATION groups are poised to mount possible legal battles against mining giant Adani as the Carmichael project inches closer to receiving final approvals from the State Government.

The Environmental ­Defenders Office, a not-for-profit environmental community legal centre, has raised concerns about the "highly ­unusual" intervention by the State Government to outline clear timelines for its department to make a decision on the final two outstanding approvals Adani needs to begin work in the Galilee Basin.

"The community is rightly concerned about the State Government placing short deadlines on crucial assessment processes designed to protect Queensland's precious groundwater and agricultural industries," EDO Queensland chief executive Jo-Anne Bragg said. "Our clients have raised concerns about this process and are weighing their legal options.

"As in every case, EDO Qld carefully consider the facts and law before advising clients, who include community groups, landholders, and ­conservation groups."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Friday that her Government had three weeks to make a decision on Adani's two outstanding environmental plans: the black-throated finch management plan to be decided by May 31, and its groundwater management plan by June 13.

It comes after a sensational U-turn by the Premier, who went on a regional blitz of North Queensland following the devastating federal election result for Federal Labor.

An Adani Mining official said the Environmental ­Defenders Office was in "no position" to comment on the quality of the company's ­management plans.

"They have no role or authority as it pertains to the ­review and approvals process," she said. "Instead we'll pay ­attention to the reputable ­advice of those who have been involved over this two-year ­review process, including the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Federal Department of ­Environment and Energy and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science."

The Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation, will head to court on June 27 and 28 after mounting a legal case against federal environment minister Melissa Price's handling of the ­approval process for the North Galilee Water Scheme, which is meant to funnel 12.5 billion litres of water along a 110km pipeline to the Adani and other mines from the Suttor River.

Adani's lawyers will go to Federal Court today and ­tomorrow to fend off an appeal by the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council against the mine.