Palaszczuk must stick with science in the face of political bullying

Media Release

22 May 2019

Palaszczuk must stick with science in the face of political bullying

The Queensland Premier has announced that the Adani mine assessment process will be fast-tracked and that a timeline for approval of the mine will be made public by Friday.

Peter McCallum, coordinator of Mackay Conservation Group, said “This decision follows intense political pressure from the mining industry and the Murdoch press. It is a kick in the guts for all those Queenslanders who were counting on the Palaszczuk Government to make sound scientific decisions on environmental issues.

“Today the Premier has said that she wants the scientific assessment process cut short. There can be only one reason for that, the pressure put on her government by a highly-orchestrated campaign by the mining industry and the Murdoch press.

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Adani CEO misrepresents environment and worker practices

 

Media Release - 20 May 2019

AUSTRALIAN CEO MISREPRESENTS ADANI’S ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD AND OVERLOOKS POOR WORKER PRACTICES

Adani CEO Lucas Dow has made misleading statements today suggesting Adani has been working to the ‘highest environmental standards’ (see text of Morning Bulletin story below) when the record shows they have repeatedly breached Queensland laws, says Mackay Conservation Group today (MCG).

Dow says he can’t understand why the Carmichael coal mine should be held up when it can be delivered “in a manner that is both commercially and environmentally responsible”.

However, Adani’s track record shows a lack of compliance with environmental protections and poor corporate behaviour, including:

  • being currently in court for pollution from its Abbot Point port terminal. Adani breached a pollution licence by 800%, discharging coal-polluted water from the coal terminal into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area;
  • being under investigation at a state level for alleged unlawful drilling and clearing activities at the proposed mine site; and
  • having to pay a $13,000 fine for polluting wetlands.

MCG spokesperson Michael Kane said, “Adani has shown themselves to be poor corporate citizens who can’t be trusted to do the right thing by Queensland’s environment.

“Adani has a history of breaching Queensland laws even before the project has officially been approved, including being fined for polluting wetlands and discharging coal-pollution into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” he said.

“Queensland has laws to protect our water, but Adani clearly doesn’t play by the rules. How can we trust them to look after Queensland’s water?”

“Queenslanders do not appreciate big mining companies risking their precious water resources. Research shows the majority of people in central Queensland are concerned about Adani's impact on ground and river water”.

Mr Kane says it’s disingenuous for Lucas Dow to say he speaks for people in Central Queensland communities reliant on mining, when his record shows he has been responsible for sacking miners and instituting fly in fly out workforces in the recent past.

When Dow was CEO and asset president of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance the company:

  • sacked 700 mine workers in the Bowen Basin;
  • slashed 230 jobs at Saraji mine in Central Qld;
  • had a 100% Fly In Fly out workforce at the Caval Ridge mine, overlooking local employment.

“If Mr Dow expects us to trade off our environment and iconic places then it is time he answered some hard questions on the promises he is making. How automated will this mine be and how many existing coal jobs in the Bowen Basin will we lose?” Mr Kane said.

“When Dow was in charge at BMA they sacked more mine workers than are predicted to be employed at Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

“Under Dow, BMA cut jobs at several mine sites across central Queensland and opted for a fly-in, fly-out workforce over local employment.

“It’s no surprise you won’t find Mr Dow talking about the tens of thousands of reef-related tourism and agricultural jobs at risk from Adani’s coal mine,” he said.

 

Michael Kane is available for interview.


Media contact: 0438 766 230



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Fresh FOI docs reveal CSIRO concerns about Adani ignored

Media Release

14 May 2019

Commenting on new CSIRO emails released today by the ABC, showing the agency was pressured by the Coalition government to approve Adani's controversial water plan within a number of hours, despite holding outstanding concerns, underline why Minister Price’s controversial decision should be reviewed, said Mackay Conservation Group today (“Adani water plan ticked off within hours despite lack of detail, internal CSIRO emails reveal”, ABC today).

Peter McCallum, Mackay co-ordinator of the Defend our Water Campaign - Not One Drop for Adani said, “It’s clear from these new CSIRO emails, released under right to information laws, that the agency responsible for properly scrutinising Adani’s groundwater plans was under a lot of pressure to tick off on the plans before the election was called.

The ABC reports the CSIRO was asked to provide a letter of advice, on which Minister Price could rely, merely on the basis of a verbal briefing and a short summary document provided that day.

“Adani CEO Mr Lucas Dow calls the CSIRO and GeoScience Australia ‘two of the most preeminent science organisations in Australia’. Knowing they had outstanding concerns about Adani’s groundwater plan are cause for all Australians to be concerned about the risks posed to our precious water supplies by Adani’s mine.

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Media Release: MCG call for scientific review of Adani's ground water plans

13 May 2019

MCG Calls for Scientific Review of Adani’s Groundwater Plans

Springs.pngThe Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) says scientists should be asked further questions about Adani’s groundwater plans as a necessary precaution for the protection of essential groundwater resources, including the Great Artesian Basin and the Doongmabulla Springs.

The Federal Government approved the groundwater plan for Adani’s coal project in controversial circumstances days before the announcement of the Federal election and with serious questions raised about potential political interference.

MCG Community Organiser, Michael Kane, said groundwater resources are the lifeblood of Queensland farming, regional communities and the environment and too valuable to risk for a massive coal mine.

“Adani has an appalling track record when it comes to water protection, including unlawful release of coal-contaminated water into the protected Caley Valley Wetlands and Great Barrier Reef waters from its Abbot Point port operations.

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Iceland’s renewable energy boom

Iceland is an interesting country. It has a population of 340,000 people, about the same as the population of Mackay and Townsville combined. Its land area is just more than the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Region.

The Global Financial Crisis saw Iceland’s banking system collapse and the Icelandic economy went into free fall. Economic output slowed rapidly and the unemployment rate doubled. Ten years later Iceland has the world’s highest average income. While Australia’s GDP has stagnated, Iceland’s has been on a rapid growth trajectory. 

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Iceland’s abundant renewable energy has led to a boom in investment by power hungry industries such as aluminium smelting and information technology. In addition to industry, Iceland has built a thriving tourism economy. All that has happened in a sparsely populated place, isolated from other countries by hostile oceans and on the edge of the arctic circle. 

Our region has fantastic resources that we can turn to our advantage. We have more sunny days than most parts of the world. The wind blows consistently and we produce renewable power from sugar cane waste.

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Media Release: Mackay locals demand future for youth, water and agriculture

MEDIA RELEASE
11 May 2018

Adani Industry rally: Mackay locals demand future for youth, water and agriculture

As the Resource Industry Network prepares to rally in Mackay on Saturday, spokespeople for the Central Queensland Defend our Water campaign are calling for a future beyond coal that protects young people, Queensland water resources and agriculture.  

Mackay cane grower Len Thompson said, “Coal has been a big part of Queensland’s past but we can’t bet our future on it. Locals around here realise Adani’s mine offers false hope.  Whoever wins government has to develop a plan which will work for Central Queensland’s long term economic future.

“As a farmer I know that water is essential and a big question mark hangs over Adani’s groundwater impacts.

“Adani’s mine threatens Queensland’s water and our food security. We can’t afford to damage agriculture by digging new mines which will drive even more heatwaves, droughts and fires in this region.”

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Land of the fair go

As Australians we pride ourselves on being egalitarian, the land of the fair go. Yet there’s nothing egalitarian about the treatment that Indigenous Australians receive. Apart from poorer health, incarceration, life expectancy and income statistics, the law is used against Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in a way that a fair justice system should never allow.

The dispossession of Indigenous Australians began in 1788. When Britain took possession of the continent in the eighteenth century it claimed the sole sovereign right of land ownership. That was despite an established set of land ownership laws that had been developed over tens of thousands of years by the First Australians.

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New water laws will protect the reef

For decades Queensland’s sugar cane farmers have been throwing money into the creeks and rivers that flow past their properties. That’s the money spent on excess fertiliser that runs off during heavy rain and makes its way to the ocean. It’s estimated that three quarters of nitrogen fertiliser put on cane farms leaches from the soil within a few months of application.

When nitrogen and phosphorus fertiliser enters rivers and ends up in the Reef, it upsets the natural balance of the marine environment. Algae love nitrogen and phosphorus. In a high nutrient environment algae can then become so numerous that the sunlight that normally reaches the sea floor can no longer do so. That means seagrass and other light dependent bottom-dwelling organisms have trouble growing and reproducing. Crown of Thorns starfish that destroy hard corals also love nitrogen and that’s one of the reasons they are in such large numbers on the Reef at present.

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The Climate Change Election

Central Queenslanders are feeling the impacts of climate change. The region suffered through the hottest summer on record that inflicted seemingly endless weeks of extreme heat, wild fires in Eungella National Park and unprecedented flooding that is estimated to have killed half a million cattle or more in the Townsville region.

Unfortunately the Australian government’s response to this is to open up the Galilee Basin to build Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and up to 8 more mega coal mines in the region.

The carbon emissions from these mines were they to go ahead would increase dangerous climate change here in Australia but all around the world with devastating consequences.

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Adani and the Black Throated Finch

Adani’s Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin, central Queensland is a long way from receiving all of the approvals it needs before it will be ready to break ground.

One of the key hurdles Adani needs to overcome is to have their management plan for the tiny Black Throated Finch (BTF) approved by the Queensland government.

Unfortunately for Adani and the BTF a substantial amount of the finch’s remaining habitat resides within the 28 000 hectare footprint of the Carmichael Mine.

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