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Media Release: Adani back in court, polling shows public oppose handouts

Adani in court today for breaching their ‘special’ pollution licence

New poll reveals Central Queensland voters oppose the Qld government granting special deals to Adani on roads, royalties and water

Mackay Conservation Group released polling today that shows the majority of Central and North Queensland voters want government subsidies for Adani withdrawn. The group delivered a letter to local MP, Julieanne Gilbert, calling on the Queensland Government to cancel what amounts to nearly $500 million in subsidies.

Peter McCallum, Co-ordinator of Mackay Conservation Group said, “It’s disturbing that governments trust Adani to push ahead with a mine at a time when they’re being prosecuted in court for polluting the Great Barrier Reef with coal.

“Last year the Queensland government granted Adani a favour and issued a special licence to allow them to pour coal-laden water into one of the world’s greatest natural assets, the Great Barrier Reef, and Adani failed to even comply with that.

“Today the Mackay Conservation Group is releasing new Reachtel polling in three federal electorates in regional Queensland, conducted on 30 November.

“The polling of voters in Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay reveals more that 60.0% of respondents strongly oppose the Queensland government giving Adani special deals, which allow the company to avoid paying a reported $370 million in royalties and offers Adani a $100 million publicly-funded road upgrade and a licence to take unlimited water for 60 years.

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Voters want principle based policies

46121096101_9134a3dd42_o.jpgIf there’s a single lesson for politicians from last week’s Victorian election it is that voters want political parties to develop rational policies and stand by them. Despite a major scare campaign around law and order, the ALP leader, Daniel Andrews, stuck to his reasoned platform and was rewarded with a hugely increased majority. He displayed leadership and authority over his party, maintaining a steady course all the way to polling day. With a federal election looming there must be more than a few MPs and candidates contemplating their future in the light of the Victorian result.

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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.

Government fine

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.

Wetlands

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.


Media Release: Adani knew it would pollute Reef - Gets off Scot Free


MEDIA RELEASE

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.


RTI docs show Adani & Qld govt knew Reef pollution at Abbot Pt likely

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.

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Walk for Water

A huge crowd marched through the main street of Mackay in the Walk for Water. Our government needs to listen to Queenslanders, and rule out wasting our water on Adani's mega-mine. 

With over half of Queensland drought declared, we cannot afford to give billions of litres of water to Adani. Sign the petition to protect Qld's water now, and make sure you come along to the Stop Adani meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month.  

You can read more about the predicted impacts to water that the Adani mine will have here

Check out more of the great photos... 

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Walk for Water

Adani's Carmichael mine threatens the health of ancient and precious water sources connected to the Great Artesian Basin. Regional communities rely on it this water, and Australian's everywhere want to protect it. 

Adani's Carmichael mine will drain at least 270 billion litres of groundwater over the life of the mine - that's four Sydney Harbours! Read more about the predicted impacts here

That's why we are joining together to Walk for Water and call on the Qld government to do the right thing for Queenslanders and Australians by saying no to letting Adani tap in to our water resources. 

RSVP HERE

This is a really important event and part of a big push to secure water resources into the future - we need as many people as possible to come along!

Plus there will be speakers, music and a colourful parade of people - what better way to stand up for our water?!

We'll be holding regular meetings in the lead up so let us know if you would like to help make it all happen.

RSVP now so that we can keep you updated with details, speakers and so much more! And make sure share and invite your friends on Facebook!

If you can't come to the walk, make sure you sign the pledge to protect our water!

WHEN
June 16, 2018 at 2pm - 4pm
WHERE
Jubilee Park
Cnr Wellington Street and Alfred Street
Mackay, Queensland 4740
Australia
Google map and directions
CONTACT
Maggie Mckeown · [email protected] · 0434837774

Media Release: Palaszczuk breaks election promise with new roads handout for Adani

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

Background
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




Our Water Our Lifeblood

Every which way you look at it - water is life. Every cell of every thing needs water. 

In Queensland we experience water in every form, from the very wet to the very dry but wherever you are, water is life. However, in the twists and turns of the Stop Adani campaign the issue of water is sometimes forgotten. 

Our water is our lifeblood in Queensland and that's why so many people took action at the Walk for Water on the 16th of June and are signing the pledge calling for the cancellation of Adani's water licences

Adani's Carmichael mine will drain at least 270 billion litres of groundwater over the life of the mine - that's four Sydney Harbours! Lock the Gate brought water management expert Tom Crothers to Mackay to explain the impacts that the mine could have on not only local landholders in the Galilee Basin, but to all those who rely on the Great Artesian Basin. 

The drain on Qld water resources is just the beginning. The really concerning part is the lack of research that has been conducted to estimate the likelihood of damage to aquifers, sediment layers and neighbouring springs and therefore the impacts on water resources that regional communities desperately rely on in times of drought. 

That's why a Motion of intent was passed by the crowd, calling on the Qld Government to cancel Adani's Water licence, so that precious regional water resources are protected. 

You can also sign the pledge which will be sent to Premier Palaszczuk and other ministers.

Keep reading to find out more about how Adani's mine threatens Qld's vital water resources.

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