George Brandis says Federal government should be above the law on environmental protection
For comment please call Patricia Julien on 07 4966 8025 or contact her on [email protected]
Attorney General George Brandis is today threatening to change environmental protection laws in the wake of a Federal Court decision to set aside the approval of Adani’s massive coal Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
‘Australia’s environmental laws protect our unique natural heritage, which brings millions of visitors each year to this country, makes a major contribution to our economy, and is a source of pride for all Australians,’ said Mackay Conservation Group Research Analyst Patricia Julien.
‘Brandis wants mining companies, and the Federal government, to be above the law. He wants to dodge environmental protections put in place to protect Australia’s unique wildlife.
‘George Brandis’ comments today show just how far the government is willing to go to protect the interests of mining companies.
‘Mackay Conservation Group is a grassroots community group with a proud 30 year history of protecting the environment in our unique part of the world in Central Queensland, from the Great Barrier Reef to the brigalow country of Western Queensland.
‘The Carmichael mine would be one of the biggest coal mines in the country, using 12 billion litres of water a year, destroying thousands of hectares of habitat for endangered species and making a massive contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
Detailed scrutiny of the impacts, costs and benefits of major mining developments in the courts is clearly in the public and national, interest. And Australia’s environment laws recognise that the role of community groups like ours in protecting our vital natural assets is central to a functioning democracy.
The legal system is designed to give everyday people a hearing, to ensure that justice prevails and the law is upheld. It is only right that they avail themselves of the opportunity to be heard through the due process of the law.
George Brandis reportedly wants to strike out the community voice on the environment, meaning open slather for mining companies like India’s Adani Group, which has a documented track records of serious environmental violations in India. Yet after a huge public backlash prior to the state election, the new Queensland government restored the rights of communities to object to major mining projects that were removed by the previous Newman government.
Mining companies and bureaucracies that comply with the law have nothing to fear from the independent review of the courts. The idea that this mega coal mine or other proposals for major mining developments that follow should pass through the regulatory system without public challenge where warranted – and that the laws should be changed to ensure this – is simply not in Australia’s national interest,' concluded Ms Julien.