Last Updated: December 1, 2016

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State approval of Adani’s Carmichael project unlawful and invalid; Qld’s Supreme Court hears

5 August 2016

The Queensland Government’s decision to grant Adani an environmental authority for the controversial Carmichael coal mine was not made lawfully and should be overturned, community group Land Services of Coast and Country will argue in Queensland’s Supreme Court on Friday.

CEO of Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, lawyers for Coast and Country for Friday’s one-day judicial review, Jo-Anne Bragg said:  “There are many reasons why our client considers Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine should not go ahead. But our client’s case in the Supreme Court today is that Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) failed to comply with Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act (EP Act) when they granted an environmental authority (EA) for the project.

“DEHP is entrusted by the community to make lawful decisions, yet an examination of the Department’s reasons for deciding to grant Adani an EA for Carmichael has revealed the Department failed to comply with Section 5 of the EP Act,” Ms Bragg said.

“The EP Act is Queensland’s key environmental legislation. Section 5 of the EP Act is a vital safety net that places a duty on decision makers to exercise their power in the way that best achieves the ecologically sustainable development object of the Act.

“Without Section 5 of the EP Act, the community would have no legal assurance that decision makers must protect Queensland’s environment while allowing for development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.

“Today’s judicial review is an opportunity for the lawfulness of our government’s decision-making on this matter to be scrutinised for the community by the independent Supreme Court of Queensland. It will be done in accordance with our state’s environmental laws and ultimately hold government and industry to account.”

The Court will hear from representatives of our client Coast and Country as well as representatives from Adani and DEHP.

“EDO Qld is committed to providing professional services to the community to advance access to justice. In a law-abiding society, community groups need access to justice and the courts in legitimate cases like this one to see that proper democratic processes and laws designed to protect the environment are properly complied with. Courts should not be the exclusive domain of commercial interests and government,” Ms Bragg said.

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Background:

Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) granted an environmental authority for Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine project, one of two main state licences required by the project in addition to a water licence, on 2 February 2016. This followed a Land Court recommendation in late-2015 for tighter conditions on  the endangered Black-Throated Finch. The Land Court case also exposed Adani’s overinflated job figures to be 1464 net jobs instead of the company’s claimed 10,000. Conservation group Coast and Country requested reasons for DEHP’s decision on 1 March 2016 and filed for a judicial review in Qld’s Supreme Court on 27 April 2016. Today’s judicial review will last for one day with a decision expected within 3 to 6 months. Queensland’s Supreme Court has the power to overturn the State government’s decision to grant the project an environmental authority.