Adani is actively hiding the truth about its coal-pollution of the Caley Valley Wetlands that occurred during Cyclone Debbie, says Mackay Conservation Group’s Coordinator who last week visited the area, accompanied by independent and government scientists and departmental staff, at the invitation of the office of the Queensland Environment Minister Mr Steven Miles.
Coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, Mr Peter McCallum said, “Last week we observed coal pollution in the sediment in the sensitive Caley Valley Wetlands, on the edge of the wetlands and on the floor of the wetlands, and in the area close to the spillway where the discharge occurred from the secondary settlement pond.
“Unfortunately, the site visit was very tightly managed by Adani and North Queensland Bulk Ports to stop us gathering photographic evidence, despite an assurance before the visit that we would be able to take photos and collect samples.
“NQBP staff told us on entry that we could not take photos, collect samples or leave the group to explore the site. They warned that if we breached these conditions we’d be immediately escorted off the site and deposited alone, on the side of the isolated Bruce Highway.
“The Queensland Coordinator-General also intervened and we were warned we could not collect samples or take photos of the sensitive Caley Valley Wetlands which are under his control.
“If Adani is so convinced it did not pollute the area, this begs the question: why stop us collecting evidence?
“Unfortunately the Environment Minister, who was intending to visit the site on Friday, pulled out at the last minute. It is disappointing the Minister did not consider it important to prioritise visiting Abbot Point when he was less than an hour away at Airlie Beach.
“Had Minister Miles taken the opportunity to see first hand what we saw, I can only imagine he’d be equally dismayed at the coal pollution of the Caley Valley wetlands.
“Putting Adani in charge of monitoring and reporting back to the Department on whether or not it has polluted the area is deeply problematic, particularly considering its history of breaching environmental laws and regulations overseas.
“Eventually, Queensland Government scientists undertook to collect samples of sediment and water near the site, on our behalf, and provided them for analysis.
“Unfortunately, the public can have no confidence in the Environment Department’s evidence collection either. Just for starters, it was over a week after the Cyclone ended before the Department began even the most basic survey.” Mr McCallum said.