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.WRAD MEDIA RELEASE: Blow to Reef as Adani’s Abbot Point Terminal expansion approval ruled lawful

15 June 2017

The following statement is from our client Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD):

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MEDIA RELEASE 
15 June 2017

Court judgment: Blow to Reef as Adani’s Abbot Point Terminal expansion approval ruled lawful

Brisbane, Queensland: Local community group Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) have vowed to continue their fight to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the local tourism jobs that depend on it following a Supreme Court judgment on their court action challenging the Queensland Environment Department’s approval of Adani’s Abbot Point coal port expansion.

While the Supreme Court found that the Department’s approval of Adani’s Abbot Point expansion was technically legal, WRAD say that any expansion of Adani’s coal port will put the Great Barrier Reef in peril as the Reef battles unprecedented and consecutive coral bleaching events.    

Sandra Williams local grandmother, former tourism worker and spokesperson for WRAD said:This court decision is a blow for our Reef but WRAD and the local Whitsunday community will not give up. We will keep up the fight to protect this natural wonder and the tourism jobs it supports, especially after shocking new surveys show that the Great Barrier Reef is under threat like never before from coral bleaching.

“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has found significant coral decline and habitat loss on the Reef over the past two years, as back-to-back bleaching events have hit the corals hard. An estimated 70% of shallow water corals have died on the Reef north of Port Douglas. If Adani opens up the Galilee coal basin, coral bleaching events will become more intense and devastating.  

“We have a critical window in which to act to protect our coral reefs. Instead the Queensland and Federal Governments are doing all they can to support Adani with free water, royalties reductions and pushing for a $1 billion taxpayer-funded loan to help get their dangerous project off the ground. Politicians should align themselves with the 70,000 workers who depend on the health of the Reef for their livelihoods and look to a future without polluting mining.

“The Labor Government, elected on a strong ‘Save the Reef’ platform, has failed miserably to do so. The best thing the Premier can do for the Reef now is to oppose the $1 billion loan that Adani are depending on to get their coal mine off the ground.  

“Adani’s record of environmental destruction overseas is dismal and already here they’ve been found to have breached their Abbot Point pollution license during Cyclone Debbie.

“As a grandmother and a former tourism operator, the death of the Reef is heartbreaking, but I know there is not yet reason to give up hope. We know the community shares our vision of a healthy and thriving Reef that supports local tourism jobs and industries,” Ms Williams concluded.

Background

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) challenged the lawfulness of the Queensland Government’s decision to approve Adani’s controversial Abbot Point coal terminal expansion in Queensland’s Supreme Court on 7 October 2016.

WRAD, an Airlie Beach community group which aims to protect the Great Barrier Reef from damage, was represented by EDO Qld at the one-day judicial review of the Queensland Department of Environment’s decision to grant the environmental authority for Adani’s controversial Abbot Point Terminal Zero port expansion.

The case was about whether the Department properly assessed the project, as required by law, before it granted a green light for the controversial billion dollar project that would sit in the backyard of local residents and in the middle of the precious Great Barrier Reef.

The application was filed 3 June 2016, followed by a directions hearing on 24 June 2016 and the one-day judicial review on 7 October 2016. The Court’s decision was handed down on 15 June 2017.