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.
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.”
‘Defend our Water’ launches anti-Adani ad campaign for Central Qld
TV, radio, digital, print, billboards for Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay
Ads spotlight Adani’s failure to comply with Queensland laws
Central Queenslanders are to be reminded of Adani’s poor track record on water, including breaking Queensland laws, in a major advertising campaign being launched today by the Mackay Conservation Group to run in Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay in the lead up to the Federal election.
The advertising campaign materials can be viewed and downloaded HERE
Peter McCallum, Mackay co-ordinator of the Defend our Water Campaign - Not One Drop for Adani said, “We’ve taken out these ads to make sure the community knows that before Adani has even been granted final approvals for their mine, they’re already breaking the rules.
“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?”
The advertising campaign will run in Central and North Queensland on television, radio and print media as well as billboards.Read more
Adani has made many claims about the number of jobs its mine will generate. They have often said that the mine will create ten thousand jobs. Last year at a mining industry forum in Mackay it was claimed that 16,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created. Former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, spoke about “tens of thousands of jobs” flowing from the project while visiting Adani’s operations in India.
When asked to provide evidence under oath in court, Adani’s economic expert said that the project would create 1,464 direct and indirect jobs. That’s a big number but it's a long way short of the ten thousand touted in public by the company.
The biggest cloud hanging over jobs in the mining industry isn’t whether or not politicians support a single mining project. The major driver of declining employment in coal worldwide has been the desire of mining companies to maximise profits through automation. Every nation that produces coal has witnessed mechanisation drive employment lower, even when production increased.Read more
Even though most people in Australia are very concerned about climate change and new coal projects like Adani's mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin, politicians are failing to show the leadership that we need and believe they can continue to ignore these issues or make a meaningfull commitment to stop dangerous climate change.
It's time politicians started to feel the heat of our campaign so they make clear commitments to climate change, renewable energy and to Stop Adani to make life safe for everyone.
Please volunteer to lend a few hours to support our campaign. No matter where you live you can help.
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Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, says the Adani coal mine or any new coal mines in the Galilee Basin make no sense. He says that the world is shifting to renewable energy to prevent air pollution, to protect our planet from climate change and to save money. Please sign our petition calling on Bill Shorten to adopt a policy that no new thermal coal mines will be opened in the Galilee Basin under a future ALP government.
Dear Mr Shorten
I live in regional Queensland and I agree with your Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, that no new thermal coal mines should be opened in the Galilee Basin. I am concerned about the impact of new coal mines on the world's climate. That will cause further damage to the Great Barrier Reef, the precious wetlands near Adani's mine, water for farmers and towns and put vulnerable wildlife at risk. New mines make no sense at a time when the world is rapidly shifting towards renewable energy. Like Mr Butler says, renewable energy is less polluting and cheaper than new coal fired power.
I ask your party to adopt a policy that under a future Labor government, no new thermal coal mines will be opened in the Galilee Basin, including Adani's Carmichael megamine proposal.
Why Adani is wrong in saying they did not pollute the Reef and Caley Valley Wetlands during Cyclone Debbie
Adani has repeatedly claimed it did nothing wrong in relation its management of Abbot Point coal terminal during Cyclone Debbie. The reality is that Adani did cause pollution. Here are the facts:
Temporary Emissions Licence
On 28 April 2017, the Department of Environment & Science (formerly Dept of Environment & Heritage Protection - DEHP) issued Adani with a retrospectively amended Temporary Emissions Licence for the company’s coal terminal at Abbot Point.
The licence permitted Adani to increase the concentration of contaminants flowing into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the Caley Valley wetlands from the 30 milligrams per litre (mg/L) to 100mg/L.
Exceedance of TEL
After the cyclone Adani reported to the Queensland Government that the concentration of contaminants measured in water samples collected at the location that flowed into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (known as W2) was 806mg/L. Those samples were collected using an automated process. The concentration of contaminants exceeded the temporarily permitted limit by more than 800%.
At the other authorised location (called W1), which flowed into the Caley Valley Wetlands, samples were collected after staff returned to the site following the cyclone. At the time of collection the concentration was 80mg/L which was below the temporary limit. However, there were no samples collected during the event so nobody knows whether the limit was exceeded at any time while the licence was in operation.
On 3 May 2017 the head of Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Jim Reeves, said that Adani could face a penalty of $3.8 million for a wilful breach of its licence. However, on 20 July DEHP issued Adani with a $12,190 fine for the breach. On 24 August the ABC reported that Adani had informed DEHP that it would contest the fine. The government has until 7 September 2018 to decide whether to take the matter to court.
Public awareness of the coal spill followed aerial photographs taken after Cyclone Debbie indicating a significant flow of coal from stockpiles at the port into Caley Valley wetlands through release point W1. A July 2017 report by the Queensland government reports on a scientific assessment of the wetlands post Cyclone Debbie. Soil samples collected by the Queensland government were analysed by two companies, Australian Laboratory Services (ALS) and UQ Materials Performance (UQMP).
ALS analysed the samples using Australian Standards AS2856 Part 1 & 2 and found that coal made up 26.8% of the samples taken from Caley Valley shore and 15.4% of the samples from Caley Valley wetlands. The report says that these represent “quite a significant volume of coal”.
UQMP used an in-house analysis method and found that the samples contained 10% and 2% coal just near location W2 and trace contamination across the wetlands.
In Adani’s 27 August 2018 statement the company quotes a Queensland government report that says there is little visual evidence of coal fines across the entire wetland.
Mackay Conservation Group visited the Caley Valley wetlands on 27 & 28 April 2017 following an invitation from Queensland’s environment minister. We had been told that we would be able to collect soil samples at the site but on arrival people representing Adani told us we could not collect any samples or photographs. During our visit we observed significant coverage of coal fines in the parts of the wetland we were permitted to visit. The Queensland Government photo above shows significant coal contamination in the soil sample taken in the Caley Valley wetlands. More photos from the site inspection can be found here.
Adani has been required by the Queensland Government to undertake an environmental evaluation into the causes and impacts of the coal spill into the Caley Valley wetlands. Adani has appealed this requirement and the case will be heard in October 2018.
For a more extensive background document on this issue see this article on our website.
A Right To Information request by Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) has resulted in the release of previously secret documents which reveal that both Adani and the Queensland Government were well aware that water, containing high concentrations of pollutants, could be released from Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area during Cyclone Debbie, in breach of even the special licence to pollute that the Department of Environment issued at the time.
After the cyclone Adani admitted to breaching its Temporary Emissions Licence (TEL) by more than 800% of the amount of coal polluted water allowed to be released into the Reef coast. Adani subsequently spent a year attempting to block the release of documents that would reveal what the company knew about the concentration of pollutants that could flow into the environment. In agreeing to release the information, the Right to Information Commissioner criticised Adani’s arguments for blocking the documents as “too speculative or conjectural to form a reasonably based expectation” that it could prejudice an ongoing investigation into a possible contravention of the TEL.
Despite a clear breach of Adani’s licence to pollute, it is now sixteen months since the cyclone and it appears that the Queensland government has failed to yet launch proceedings to prosecute Adani for unlawfully releasing coal polluted water into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The latest advice from the Department is that it has until 7 September 2018 to launch a prosecution.
Meanwhile Adani is:
- challenging the Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) of $12,190 for the breach and, as part of proceedings, was alleged to have submitted an altered laboratory report about the concentration of contaminants released to the marine environment;
- appealing the Queensland Environment Department’s decision to require that they carry out an environmental investigation as a result of the discharge during the cyclone into the Caley Valley Wetlands at Abbot Point, to look at causes and impacts
- seeking approval from the Queensland government to increase the amount of coal that goes through its Abbot Point Port by 10 million tonnes per annum, yet failing to ensure its terminal is more storm proof and likely to pollute.
The previously secret documents, released under RTI are here. The judgment by the Queensland Information Commission is here.
An extensive blog on the pollution incident at Abbot Point, and how events unfolded, has been prepared by the Queensland Environmental Defenders Office and can be found here.Read more