Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Adani : Carmichael Coal Mine : Federal Court set aside government approval

A reply to a letter sent to Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment :
Thank you for your email concerning the Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland.

The Australian Government is committed to protecting the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef and addressing climate change.

Over the next decade, more than $2 billion will be invested in improving the health of the Reef. We have also implemented a new shipping plan to provide additional protection for the Reef.

When the Coalition was elected, the Reef was under threat of being listed as in-danger by the World Heritage Committee. After significant new funding investments and policy changes to ban capital dredge disposal, the Committee has held Australia up as a global role model in the management of the Reef and our Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.

We are also committed to addressing climate change and are well on track to achieve our emissions reduction target by 2020 and have set a target of a 26-28 per cent reduction by 2030 based on 2005 emissions. This is a strong and credible target and will see Australia make one of the most significant contributions per capita with emissions reducing by at least 50 per cent.

In regards to the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, the Federal Court recently, with consent of all parties, formally set aside the approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). This related to a technical, administrative matter and, to remove doubt, the Department advised that the decision should be reconsidered.

The decision was taken after a thorough environmental impact assessment process occurring over several years. The assessment looked at impacts on all relevant nationally protected matters, including the ornamental snake and yakka skink and included strict conditions to protect these two species. Another key species for which there were robust protections put in place is the black-throated finch, with approximately 31,000 hectares required to be protected. The project approval also included world-class environmental conditions for the protection of water, including a requirement for the return of at least 730 mega-litres of water per year for ten years to the Great Artesian Basin.

We will now be reconsidering the approval decision on the project. While we appreciate you may not support this project, the Government is required to assess these projects under environmental law without fear or favour in accordance with our strict national environmental laws.

Thank you for writing on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Deb Callister
Assistant Secretary
Assessments (Qld, Tas, Vic) & Policy Implementation Branch
Environment Standards Division
Department of the Environment

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