10 August 2018
Qld govt fails to prosecute Adani for breaking law, polluting Reef waters
Adani tries to block documents showing it knew pollution would occur
Previously secret documents show Adani and the Qld Department of the Environment knew that water, containing high concentrations of coal pollutants, would be released from Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal into Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area waters during Cyclone Debbie, in breach of even the special licence to pollute that was issued to Adani at the time.
Despite a clear breach of Adani’s license to pollute, it is now 16 months since Cyclone Debbie and the Queensland government has as yet failed to launch prosecution proceedings after Adani challenged its $12,190 fine.
In a lengthy process, Adani sought to block Mackay Conservation Group’s right to information request. A backgrounder, with links to the documents and the Information Commissioner’s judgment, can be found here.
Coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, Mr Peter McCallum said, “This proves once again that Adani can’t be trusted and sees itself as above the law. Adani mustn’t get off scot-free. The Queensland government must launch a prosecution in the next few weeks otherwise the time will expire.
“Adani has challenged their measly $12,190 fine, despite admitting to intentionally breaching its pollution licence by more than 800 per cent and allegedly submitting an altered laboratory report.
“The company is also in court appealing an order that it examine pollution of the Abbot Point Caley Valley wetlands and consider a new water management strategy, in an attempt to bully the Government into a cheaper, less effective investigation.
“North Queenslanders don’t want a mining company which thumbs its nose at regulation designed to protect our precious environment.
“Just last week Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said Queensland has some of the strictest environmental measures in world which Adani is subject to.
“It’s now up to Minister Enoch to show Queenslanders that she will enforce these environmental laws and do no more special favours for Adani.
“The secret documents show Adani knew that the concentration of contaminants that flowed into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef was likely to be in the range of 500 to 900mg/L, well above the 100 mg/L allowed by even its temporary license to pollute issued during the storm.
“The port where Adani operates is frequently subject to severe weather. Over the past five decades, 23 tropical cyclones have passed within 100km of the site.
“Considering Adani is seeking approval to increase the amount of coal that goes through its port by 10 million tonnes a year, the Queensland government must require Adani clean up its act and stormproof the terminal to prevent future pollution.
“The public should be confident that the Queensland Government is committed to ensuring Adani causes no more harm to the Great Barrier Reef, our state’s unique wildlife, our precious water or the cultural heritage values of the indigenous community,” Mr McCallum said.
Contact: Peter McCallum 0402 966 560 for comment.
Mackay, Queensland. Mackay Conservation Group has today called on Premier Palaszczuk to rule out giving Adani up to $100 million of taxpayers funds for a road upgrade for its proposed mine, noting that dedicating public funds to the coal project would break her election promise of ‘no state funding for Adani’. (“Qld Government considering funding $100m road for Adani mine, documents show”, ABC today).
Mackay Conservation Group community organiser Maggie McKeown said, “Yet again the Queensland government is actively considering giving Adani handouts to build a mine that the majority of Queenslanders do not want.
“The Queensland Coordinator General recommended Adani be responsible for road upgrades and Adani said it would pay for the upgrade. Why then would the Premier spend public funds on this project?
“Polls show that seven out of ten Queenslanders say Adani should fund its own project rather than expect a taxpayer subsidy. (Stop Adani Alliance, October 2017)
“Queenslanders want public money spent on schools, hospitals and large-scale renewable energy projects. They quite rightly do not support their taxes being used to maximise the profits of a an overseas mining billionaire.
“Adani has received special deals from all levels of government. The Palaszczuk government has been the biggest offender, offering cut price royalties, a license to take unlimited groundwater for 60 years and a license to pollute at Abbot Point Coal Terminal during Cyclone Debbie.
“Enough is enough. The Premier must today rule out this latest leg up, using taxpayers’ money,” Ms McKeown said.
Contact: Maggie McKeown 0434 837 774
The RTI documents and a briefing paper can be found here.
ACF report, A Fistful of Dollars: Adani’s Preferential Treatment by Federal, State and Local Australian Governments, Oct 2017
Mackay Conservation Group is a volunteer based organisation that was established in 1983 that works to protect Central Queensland’s environment www.mackayconservationgroup.org.au