Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Australian Greens are furious that the government of the Australian State of Queensland, which has made a big show of their environmental concern, has just backflipped and approved a massive new coal mine.
Green and Indigenous groups furious over Queensland’s Carmichael coalmine lease approval
Palaszczuk government accused of a morally bankrupt backflip after approving mining leases while two legal challenges to $22bn mine remain unresolved.
Conservationists and traditional owners have been floored by Queensland’s decision to grant mining leases for Adani’s mega-coalmine while two court challenges are unresolved.
The Queensland government has cleared the last major state hurdle for the Indian miner to proceed with its $22bn coalmine (which would be Australia’s largest), rail and port project in the Galilee Basin and at Abbot Point.
But even Adani says it won’t make a final investment decision on the project until legal challenges by “politically motivated activists” are concluded, and it has the last approvals it needs.
Two groups fighting the mine in separate court battles have accused the state government of a morally bankrupt backflip that endangers the Great Barrier Reef and trashes Indigenous rights.
In announcing the leases alongside premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, in Mackay, Lynham said he had carefully weighed up the challenges and benefits of the Carmichael project, and the benefits had won.
He said 200 strict environmental conditions would safeguard the environment, while ensuring a project that would generate thousands of jobs could proceed.
“We would encourage Adani to start [construction] as soon as possible, but that is a matter for Adani,” he told reporters.
The three leases issued for the mine site north-west of Clermont cover an area estimated to contain 11bn tonnes of thermal coal.
The premier said the project would generate more than 5,000 jobs at the peak of construction and more than 4,500 jobs at the peak of operations.
Queensland is suffering significant economic hardship and job losses, thanks to the cooling global economy, and reduced international demand for mining commodities. The only bright spot is an anticipated surge in demand for coal, thanks to China and Japan competing to see who can finance the largest number of new coal generators.
If the green leaning government of Queensland had stood in the path of 5000 new well paid jobs, in the name of saving the planet, it would likely have been an act of political suicide.
Update (EW) – new image supplied by auralay